Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to be well and truly in the doghouse over his wheeler-dealing conduct regarding the proposed veterinary department at Kake Gakuen (“Decision deferred on Kake Gakuen’s plan” in the Aug. 19 edition).

So why doesn’t he seem in the slightest concerned, and why is nobody surprised?

It is common practice in Japan to accommodate the personal interests and selfish motivations of those in power, whether it be in government or kindergarten. Japan proudly deceives itself that its veneer of collective decision-making guides everything. There are more committees in Japan than all the rest of the world put together. Each believes in the time it spends discussing and weighing the fairness of planning and action.

Yet ultimately nearly all conclusions (especially at the highest levels) are foregone, because the top dog always gets the last bark.

For anyone wishing to study and understand what makes Japan tick, the two examples of the Moritomo and Kake schools are microcosmic enough to tell us everything. People in power get their way and their self-serving behavior is shrouded in so much secrecy and collusion that nobody could ever unravel all their dirty deeds.

Even South Korea, which Japan often seems to look down on, has shown more courage in taking its leaders to task. You’d think Abe would be shaking in his Hush Puppies, but far from it. He knows all too well what makes Japan tick, him and only him. For the rest of Japan it’s back to the dog’s life they have always lived even though they lack the bark to say so in public.


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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