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Synopsis of "We Hear the Sound of Collapsing Japan" Story 3

Let me elaborate the two problems I mentioned in the previous story no.2, namely, the wrong handling of the Futemma US marine base issue, and the lack of adequate economic plans.

(1) Futemma Base Issue: Futemma US marine helicopter base in Okinawa has been known as the most dangerous military base because it is located in the midst of a densely populated residential area in the central part of Okinawa. It had been agreed for more than 15 years ago between the Japanese and US government to move to somewhere else and by 10 years ago at the shore of Henoko area near Nago city which is located mid-north area of Okinawa island. In fact, I myself has been deeply involved in this issue as the chairperson of the Okinawa Development Commission( nick-named as Shimada-commission).

Prime minster Hatoyama committed himself to move the Futemma base out of country or at least out of Okinawa during the campaign for 2010 general election of August. After the election, he declared as prime minister to pursue this goal. Quite naturally, the issue was not so easy. Prime minister Hatoyama set the time limit twice and broke them, said that he had a plan in mind and it turned out that he did not have any, and finally he admitted that he could not keep his promise to the public and added that he learned that the US base had a role of "deterrent." This final comment astonished many people that the prime minister said many things without understanding the meaning of the "deterrent," which is the most important corner stone of the security of the nation.

In this process, he not only disappointed and made the Okinawans angry but also lost or at least weakened the sense of trust with the US government. President Obama never met prime minister Hatoyama in person ever since November of 2009. The wrong handling of the Futemma base issue damaged the national interest both within the country and in the international relations.

(2) Lack of adequate economic plans: the new DPJ government spent nearly a year without having decent economic plans of basic importance. They did not have an adequate short term economic plan by which they can judge what kind of economic stimulus package would be most effective to cement the macro-economic demand gap. They stressed the shift of the public investment from "concrete structures" to " human resources," but did not have right ideas about the multiplier effect of the investment. They did not have an adequate mid-term economic plan either. Since Japan is suffering a rapid decrease of population, increase of productivity is critically important to absorb the negative effect of decreasing population.The mid-term plan is the base to construct effective policies to increase productivity utilizing the supply factors of the economy.

The government did not have the concrete fiscal reconstruction plan, either even though the fiscal reconstruction is the most important issue of economic management of the national economy. When Mr.Katsuya Okada was the head of the DPJ, they had a rather rigorous fiscal reconstruction plan. However, it was dropped shortly before the general election of 2009 perhaps the then leaders felt it was not helpful to win the popularity of the voters. The reconstruction plan discussed in the new administration was phrased only in abstract terms without specific targets or commitment.

The new government did not prepare a full-fledged plan for the growth strategy. The strategy planning office prepared a preliminary plan at the end of 2009, and publicized a more detailed plan in June 2010. The plan, however, is a collection of fancy dream-like goals without a sound road map of policies to achieve them.

The DPJ leaders kept stressing the denial of bureaucrats. They apparently misused the concept by not utilizing the technical capability of bureaucrat experts. The absence of solid and well thought-out economic plans which should designate specific policies gives the public an impression that this government is driving a car without a driver's license.

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I think ex PM Hatoyama and Kan as head of DPJ and country of Japan does not have clear views of global competitions, strategies and more importantly national interests. Their arguments are not well- thought and less committed. Moreover, as Shimada san mentioned, they are not qualified to drive Japan vehicle. Drivers are necessary to watch front(future), rear(history)and side(competitors)etc.





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