Foreign Policy Blogs

Kan creates 2 new cabinet posts in prep to step down

Prime Minister Naoto Kan created two new cabinet posts in order to oversee reconstruction from the March 11 quake and tsunami and nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. This is purportedly to get Japan’s reconstruction on solid footing before he steps down. Kan also asked opposition Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Kazuyuki Hamada to become parliamentary secretary for internal affairs and communications. Hamada is likely to be expelled from the LDP for accepting.

Kan’s administration has been criticized by opposition parties, primarily the LDP, as being slow and indecisive in handling the aftermath of the March 11 disaster. While the LDP does have a point, I think their criticism is more of an obstructionist tactic at a time when Japanese politicians need to work together to get something done for once.

One problem with the office of prime minister in Japan is that the PMs aren’t directly elected, which is the main reason most Japanese claim to be apathetic to politics, and PMs don’t have set term limits, which usually results in one strike and you’re out.

Kan is a smart leader, but he tends to be indecisive. Japanese are indecisive by nature. They place a high value on thoroughness and perfection, and strive for group consensus. While admirable values, the end result is hard decisions are put off indefinitely with promises to research the issue. Therefore, Tokyo tends to be more reactive than proactive. Tokyo doesn’t act until a decision is made for it, which is why the impetus for change in Japan usually comes from outside–Perry’s black ships, defeat in World War II, the March 11 quake and tsunami.

Japan would do well with a more decisive, democratically elected leader.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]