Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Politics and politicians- Quotes from and about Japanese “people’s representatives”

Quotes about Nagatacho, LDP, Minshuto,  Koizumi, bribes, pork barrels, dangou bid fixing etc. etc.

“Typically of Japanese politics, Mr Ozawa’s fight is not based on principle. The DPJ’s manifesto… bore no mention of the [petrol] levy. Meanwhile Mr Ozawa is promising rural voters even more goodies than the LDP” The Economist, Mar 8-14 2008

“In Japan, the men cannot rape the women because they do not have the energy” A Japanese Diet member in the 1980s, according to Kickboxing Geishas pg 110

 “Men are supposed to be responsible for protecting newborn babies, women and aged mothers. Men in Japan, however, are utterly incapable of accomplishing this mission because they do not receive military training”

Then Prime Minister Hashimoto Ryutaro, Japan Times International, April 1999

“The world believes Japan’s politicians are unable to decide on anything, not even to put one foot in front of the other”

Tadamori Oshima, the LDP’s Diet-affairs chairman, quoted in The Economist, Jan 2008

“No gift resembling democracy had yet been presented. A gift as large is always a problem, anyway” Patrick Smith

“The logic (of the CIA giving tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars to the Japanese Liberal Democratic party) was the same as during the Vietnam war, when we burned villages to save them: We subverted democracy to save it” Patrick Smith

“In the 1920s…no year saw fewer than 250 major strikes…At the end of the 1940s membership (of independent unions) was 6.7 million- 56% of the workforce” Patrick Smith, giving some surprising statistics from the country of the “Japanese way” of harmony and toothless company unions

“The youth group stood on guard at the entrance to the hamlet every night, and just followed round everybody who came soliciting votes from other hamlets- didn’t say anything, of course, just stood ostentatiously outside each house they went into to show that they had been observed” Democracy Asian-style, as described in a Japanese village in the 70’s in Japan by Ronald P Dore, but could just as easily be Thailand now

“Taifuu-sama- the ‘Mr Typhoon’ of 1959 which brought such prosperity it acquired an honorific suffix, thanks to the mayor’s astonishing success in getting relief funds” Ronald P Dore

“Everyone has the same right to…’life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’- as the 1947 Japanese constitution puts it, its American drafters not having thought it necessary to strain for originality in these matters” Ronald P Dore

“You can say what you like about these politicians, but they certainly know how to run the country…here I am, doing much the same as I was doing twenty years ago… but our whole style of living is different; everything’s mechanized, we don’t have to work nearly as hard and we can afford things we’d never dream of a few years ago” The village headman of Shinohata, quoted by Ronald. P. Dore

“[the Finance Ministry’s Top Bureaucrat] Muto is the prime minister and Koizumi is merely public relations” A METI official, as quoted in Japan’s Failed Revolution

“I must have attended nearly 90 Cabinet meetings. They lasted an average of 10 minutes each and all I did was sign documents” Kan Naoto, former Minister of Health and Welfare and previous leader of the opposition DPJ, illustrating how the occupation authority (SCAP)’s attempts to set up a Westminster style political system in Japan hasn’t quite worked out that way. Quoted in “Japan’s Failed Revolution” by Aurelia George Morgan

“This is a very important issue having relevance to the basic structure of the state. I have my own ideas about it. But, as prime minister and the president of the ruling party, I think I should not say what I think about it” An almost stereotypical “Japanese leadership style” comment from Prime Minister Mori in 2000, quoted in “Japan’s Failed Revolution” by Aurelia George Morgan

“I want independent voters to sleep all day” An alternative idea of how it is possible to win an election, from then PM Mori, just before the 2000 Lower House elections. Quoted in “Japan’s Failed Revolution” by Aurelia George Morgan
“This is going to be a battle in which either the LDP will destroy the Koizumi Cabinet or the Koizumi Cabinet will destroy the LDP” Another form of Japanese leadership, by then PM Junichiro Koizumi. Quoted in “Japan’s Failed Revolution” by Aurelia George Morgan

“…policy always comes second to politicking in the LDP…” Aurelia George Morgan, in “Japan’s Failed Revolution”

“No Japanese party unequivocally represents the interests of salary-earning, urban consumers who fall between the cracks of all the parties…”Aurelia George Morgan, in “Japan’s Failed Revolution”

“The majority of LDP members, although pro-capitalist (that is, they believe in private ownership of the means of production), are not necessarily pre-market (that is, allowing demand-supply factors to determine production and prices). They fear the havoc that market competition would wreak amongst the weaker industry sectors that form their main organised support base, and disguise their politically self-interested, anti-market position with a philosophy that is purported to oppose US or Anglo-Saxon, laissez-faire-style capitalism. Their views and policies have been variously described as ‘conservative socialism’, ‘financial socialism’, ‘mass democratic socialist system’ and ‘”quasi-socialistic” protection of strategic or politically influential interests’. In reality, their anti-market views are mainly an ideological cover for political self-interest, although ethnic pride may also be an element. Because a belief in the inherent superiority of the so-called ‘Japanese economic model’ is now difficult to maintain, their lingering belief in this system is expressed as a form of antipathy towards Anglo-American capitalism.”   Aurelia George Morgan, in “Japan’s Failed Revolution”

“This phenomenon is even more unusual against a background of prime ministers with charisma bypass who have been inflicted on the Japanese people by ruling LDP factions regardless of popularity considerations. Koizumi’s immediate predecessors- prime ministers Mori and Obuchi- epitomised this phenomenon. Very few winners of the LDP factional races have also been able to claim a de facto popular mandate. So, if leadership requires followership, Koizumi is like no other leader in Japan’s postwar history.” Aurelia George Morgan in “Japan’s Failed Revolution”

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