Confrontational, outspoken, feisty and highly focused, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is a self-made man determined to redraw the loci of power in Japan. He is clearly using the local platform from which to spring into the national arena. The question on everyone’s mind is: Will Hashimoto ever be the prime minister of Japan?

Last week in Counterpoint, I discussed the relevance of the Meiji Era (1868-1912) leadership to his stunning career — particularly in so far as he envisages himself a reformer in that mold. Radical reformation of an outmoded system is combined in him with a fiercely nationalistic agenda. In the Meiji Era, that very agenda propelled the country into a spiral of self-destructive militarism.

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