• Chikushino, Fukuoka

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Regarding the Nov. 13 front-page article “Ruling bloc OKs ¥2 trillion boost“: Although the ruling bloc has apparently approved giving every Japanese citizen a token handout to stimulate the economy, major figures within the Liberal Democratic Party vehemently oppose it, viewing it only as an attempt to bribe people so they’ll not oppose Prime Minister Taro Aso’s attempt to cling to leadership.

The idea that doling out (¥12,000 or ¥20,000, depending on age) to everybody can somehow help the economy is preposterous in itself, but the ulterior motive is brazenly political. The whole idea has not been thought through. The question of whether taxpaying foreigners should be included is only the tip of the iceberg of such loose thinking. Moreover, the responsibility for distribution has been laid on local authorities, who are notoriously lax about using money. The project will end up costing the taxpayer much more than the amount earmarked.

In light of the national pension fiasco, can the prime minister honestly expect that there will not be millions of errors arising from his stubborn insistence on such a fake gesture?

Aso is Japan’s third prime minister in a row to have a Cabinet with no public mandate, yet the LDP’s arrogant stranglehold on Japan is stronger than ever. The timidity of the Japanese voting public in the face of such absurdity is only exceeded by the temerity of the one-party system that feeds on them. Japan has never really known the meaning of democracy; it just blindly assumes that it means having LDP factions jostle for ever juicier tidbits. The factions themselves seem too devoted to pork-barreling and haggling among themselves for more power to help with the economy.

david wood

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