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Koizumi, Privatization of Japan Post

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The Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi decided to dissolve the Diet because the House of Councilors rejected the postal privatization bill on August 8. He said he wouldn't authorize the LDP members who voted against the bill, and he also said that he was going to destroy his own LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) if they do not follow Koizumi's policy. BBC says that:

The telephone poll, taken by Kyodo news agency soon after Mr Koizumi dissolved parliament, put the prime minister's approval rating at 47.3%. The previous survey, in July, gave him 42.6% support. (web)

BBC goes on to explain that:

Japan Post is a huge organisation, which has about 25,000 post offices nationwide, which all sell the system's savings and insurance products, as well as regular postal services.

It is worth noticing that the positions of postmaster in rural areas are hereditary posts, and they serve as a vote collecting machine for a certain group of the LDP members. I want to support his battle against such a system. However, we know that Koizumi is also an ultra nationalist. He might visit Yasukuni Shrine this summer to pray for spirits of the war dead including Japan's World War 2 A Class war criminals. I strongly object to his visit to Yasukuni.

Koizumi's policy is twisted. Usually, those who have nationalist & conservative ideas defend traditional values and communitarian sentiments found in rural areas such as the hereditary succession of postmaster. However Koizumi defends the former and seems to reject the latter. We can find an interesting example of a unique combination of nationalism and modernization in the age of globalization. This may be a familiar phenomenon for social science specialists, so this would not be a unique case at all, but for me, this is really interesting, and annoying as well.

Many Japanologists have said that in Japan group conformity takes precedence over individuals, but this prime minister of Japan has broken this hidden rule so far. The exprime minister Mori described Koizumi's individualism "more than strange as a prime minister." But I want to suport his individualism.

However, I object to Koizumi's conservatism and nationalism. I wish him to resign if he won't change his attitudes toward Yasukuni Shrine and WW2.

Photo: Ryukoku University, Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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