Part Two in the soap opera “Japan’s School for Scandal” is even more shameful than Part One. The prime minister reprises his role as a smooth school operator, working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the truth hidden.

The hapless media have no idea what’s happening and no freedom to report it anyway. Fifty-plus years of Liberal Democratic Party domination have made the “daimyo” of Japan experts at putting irremovable lids on their own misdeeds and the public is no longer on a need to know anything basis, if it ever was.

Politicians just have to say “It wasn’t me” “It never happened” or “I can’t remember” and they can escape any amount of misconduct no matter how much it dwarfs the minutiae of reported news that drowns the country’s interest or ability to grasp the insidiousness of cover-up after cover-up.

It seems Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s LDP has turned the fashion in Japan from Cool Biz to School Biz, and the prime minster himself may be complicit in giving his buddies billions by bending rules to help them secure devious loans … but we’ll almost certainly never know the truth as the impetus to investigate will be shelved along with the Moritomo scandal under the “Do not investigate until the public forgets what it was all about anyway” trump card that the government always plays when its wheeler-dealing gets too close to being exposed for its own comfort.

Despite the government’s best efforts to conceal and contain, some recent polls have indicated one of the biggest negative swings against a Japanese leader for many years. Even with all the smoke screens and mirrors erected around him to deflect attention from his ulterior motives, tiny cracks still appear in the frequently white-washed walls he has attempted to hide behind.

Unfortunately however, with the kind of absolute power his party wields, the true nature of his role in such financial favoritism may never surface unless the public stands up and demands the bill for public spending be properly tallied and his responsibility for it completely audited. In view of his and his party’s push for more “moral” education, the irony of his involvement is crushing.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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