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Legacy of Shinzo Abe: Corruption and Hopeless Japanese Economy(3)
chungheesoo

 

The corruption culture and the wrong leadership in Korea can lead to the same economic fate as in Japan

 

Joseph H. Chung (정희수), Ph.D. Professor of Economics, Quebec University in Montreal

 

 

 (지난 호에 이어)

 

Is there any global indicator of corruption of the leadership? I think that the longevity of premiership is such indicator. In Japan, the occupants of prime minister change so frequently that the office of Prime Minister is called "revolving-door Prime Minister Office".

 

Since 1946 until 2022, Japan had 34 prime ministers. Shinzo Abe was prime minster twice, 2006-2007 and 2012-2020. Shigeru Yoshida was also prime minister twice (1946-1947 and 1948-1954).

 

Of 34 prime ministers, only 13 could keep the premier job more than 2 years.

 

In total, only 6 prime ministers kept their job for more than 3 years: Shigeru Yoshida (6 years:1948-1954), Kishi Nobuske (3 years:1957-1960),Hayato Ikeda (4 years:1960-1964), Eisaku Sato (8 years:1964-1972) Junichiro Koizumi (5years:2001-2006) and Shinzo Abe (8 years: 2012-2020).

 

These 6 prime ministers ruled Japan for 34 years. Hence, 28 prime ministers ruled Japan for only 36 years, which implies that these 28 prime ministers governed only 1.28 years.

 

There was even a prime minister who had the shameful reputation of being prime minister for only 65 days. It was Tanzan Ishibashi (December 23, 1956-February 25 1952). There was also a prime minster of 69 days; it waa Sosuke Uno (January 3, 1989 to August 10, 1989).

 

The interesting question is why. There can be several reasons for the revolving-door prime ministers' office. But, the main reason is the involvement in various scandals involving bribes, influence peddling, illegal diffusion of government information, sex scandal, all sorts of kick-backs, illegal job appointments and many other illegal or immoral activities of the LDP politicians.

 

Another key factor of the short longevity of prime ministers is the in-fight among the faction within LDP.

 

In the LDP, there are seven factions: Seiwa, Taro Aso, Heisei, Kochikai (Kishida), Atarashi Nami (New Wave), Shigeru Ishida and Bancho Policy analyse Institute.

 

Of these seven factions, the Seiwa faction is the oldest, the largest and the most powerful. It has been dominated by the family of Shinzo Abe. This faction was recently run by Hiroyaki Hosoda nominated by Shinzo Abe. Moreover, the Seiwa faction is the most far-right faction. The New Wave faction is also far-right faction but it is a minor faction.

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In a way, the lifespan of prime minister in Japan depends also on which faction the prime minister belongs and how well he or she serves and promotes the faction's interests. The promotion of the wellbeing of the ordinary Japanese people seems far from the main concerns of the Japanese politicians.

 

Shinzo Abe has been able to stay long time as prime minster, because he belonged to the Seiwa faction.

 

The assassination of former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has shed additional light on the corruption culture in Japan, The close relations between the LDP and the Church of Unification (CU) began between Kishi Nobuske, former prime minister (LDP) and the CU founder, Sun-myung Moon in the 1950s.

 

These relations were inherited by Shintaro Abe, former foreign minister (LDP) and by Shinzo Abe (foremr prime minster (LDP). Kishi Nobuske was maternal side grandfather of Shinzo Abe, while Shintaro Abe was Shinzo Abe's father.

 

The close LDP-CU relation soon degenerated into corrupted collusion and complicity. The CU has provided funding and logistic support to LDP political activities, while LDP protected the wrong doings of the CU. As a result, the CU was allowed to register as Christian Church, while it is regarded by authentic Christian Church as a "Cult organization".

 

As a result, the CU could expand extensively its members and its activities. It is reported that Japanese account for 70% of members of the CU. It is also reported that 80% of the wealth of the CU comes from Japan.

 

The influence of CU on Japanese politics appears substantial. For instance, many politicians could be members of the CU. Many LDP politicians admit having received s political support from the CU. More than 100 CU members are advisors of Japanese lawmakers.

 

One thing sure is that the LDP-CU collusion is not designed to promote the interests of the ordinary Japanese people. The collusion's objectives is the promotion of the interests of LDP's political and personal interests on the one hand and, on the other, the pursuit of spiritual and monetary interests of the CU. In short, the LDP-CU collusion is an integral part of the corruption culture in Japan.

 

There is another reason for the perpetuation of the corruption culture in Japan. It is the incompetence of opposition parties to take power by winning elections.

 

It appears that the Japanese people are not keen in electing opposition parties. Robert Whiting explains why.

 

"Perhaps one reason such corruption continues is that most people do not see a connection between their lives and the ruling class and so do not feel personally aggrieved by the massive theft of their national resources. They pay their taxes and have no ideas where their earnings are going. Or, may be, they know but they don't want to think about it. Politicians in Japan operate in their own self-contained world apart from normal law abiding people-much like organized crime." (Robert Whiting, July 20, 2020, robertwhiting.substack.com)

 

Whiting suggest also that the culture of "wa" (harmony) discourages whistle blower. He also adds this.

 

He adds: "Political contributions-mostly illicit sort-are essential lubricants of cooperative interactions in Japanese fractious power struggle. Political corruption is endemic in a system run by an oligarchy operated in a gift culture."

 

In fact, it has been reported that a Japanese lawmakers spend as much USD 2 million in two years to buy votes. So, the voters vote the rich party and the LDP is rich.

 

To sum up, the corruption culture is so deep, so wide and so persistent that Japan is facing and will be facing quasi impossible challenge of freeing from the sickness of corruption. (다음 호에 계속)

 

 

 

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