Regarding “Abe expresses hope for progress on abduction issue through U.S.-North Korea talks” in the May 12 edition, Prime Minister Abe’s prolonged throttle hold on political power is symbolized by the Catch-22 game he has long played with the abduction issue.

After setting up a special organization purportedly to solve the issue over a decade ago, he frequently resorts to the matter to boost his own image when some of the many scandals in which he is ensnarled gain too much public notice. If there were a scrap of sincerity in his concern, why after so long has there been so little progress?

Simply put, if the issue were ever fully resolved, it would be one less mirror to deflect public disapproval from his suspicious involvement in such controversies as Kake Gakuen.

As the moment of truth nears, he resorts again to Plan B, namely hiding behind the coat tails of President Trump. That way if the issue should be resolved, he can jump in front of a camera to claim the glory, and if it fails, he can just point the finger at Donald. And of course neither outcome will stop him treating President Putin like a hero to cosy up to by giving presents paid for by taxpayers who get no say in the matter.

Of course this is only half the picture to his throttle hold tactics. It is just as important for him to curry favor with the mandarins of powerful ministries to secure a mutual back-scratching relationship that overrides public interest but keeps him in office.

Recently, former Prime Minister Hatoyama gave a presentation at a college in Kyushu and explained this power cartel in detail. Hatoyama tried reaching out to China during his brief term in office but was effectively disempowered by the same bureaucrats empowering Abe as they assured American counterparts that Hatoyama’s stay would be short-lived. That they made sure of by inflating a negative image of Hatoyama to unseat him.

In other words, those who hold the ultimate power to Japan’s governance are the top civil servants who can boost or oust leaders almost at will to ensure the rule of vested self-interest.


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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