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August 1, 2010

Why Japan can not produce strong leaders?

As the Democratic Party of Japan was defeated at the last Upper-House election, Japan has again failed to produce a stable government. Naturally a question arises in your mind: can Japan generate a strong leaders at all, and is Japan able to manage a modern nation state?

We used to have some anomalies like Nakasone and Koizumi, but besides them almost all leaders were the "consensus-types". Even before the Pacific War Japan was like that.

Japan has a firmly entrenched radition of village community where egalitarianism and consensus-based decision-making prevail. When the Pacific War ended, the American occupation army imposed on the Japanese the American type of democracy. And it was amazingly quickly "assimilated" by the Japanese. It seemed so.......

But the thing is that the Japanese invented a different type of democracy, which is strongly tinted with traditional collectivism and egalitarianism, which from time to time took even dogmatic tone.

When people acted against these principles, they were solemnly told that they had violated "the democracy". "It is not democracy," they used to say.

This egalitarian society was somehow held together by the governmental officials. When the U.S.attacked and weakened them, thinking that they were the ones who opposed necessary(for the U.S.) reforms in Japan, there was no one left to hold Japan together other than the populist politicians, who constantly get discredited by the people.

Therefore foreigners, the U.S. among others, now have to confront themselves directly with the Japanese society. The Americans must have realized that it was not the bureaucrats who opposed refomrs and changes, but it was the Japanese society itself which opposed.

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