The more impatient people are, the more they are likely to develop heart disease. This was a theory advocated by American cardiologist Meyer Friedman (1910-2001), based on his observation of patients in a hospital a half century ago.
For some reason, the chairs in a waiting room for outpatients were worn down on the front edges of the seats. The doctor observed the patients and noticed that they tended to sit on the edges of their chairs so that they could immediately stand up when they were called.
Generally speaking, politicians have strong nerves, but Lower House members of the Democratic Party of Japan must be in anguish. The political showdown between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is staking his political life on a consumption tax increase, and former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, who is against it, is reaching its climax.
Lawmakers are on edge. With supporters and colleagues whispering in their ears, they don’t know what to do.
The prime minister declared in the Diet that DPJ members will be obliged to support tax increases. If they vote against the bills on June 26, they will be violating party rules.
In a proper political party, such behavior would be subject to severe punishment, including expulsion from the party. But DPJ Secretary-General Azuma Koshiishi appears set to impose only light disciplinary measures. That is why some lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, are saying they will vote against the bills and remain in the party.
As psychiatrist and former DPJ Lower House member Hiroko Mizushima pointed out in her book, politicians are full of self-love and self-importance. They are getting excited about the drumbeat of political change.
Young lawmakers in the Ozawa group must already be focusing entirely on how to fight the next Lower House election. Substantive policymaking is being displaced by political games.
Ozawa must have encouraged his followers by saying that, if they leave the party and unite under the banner of opposing a tax increase, they can win in the election. This is his final battle. He has been keeping lawmakers under his wing in readiness for the turbulence we are now encountering.
Is it patriotism or extraordinary self-love that drives him to impatiently break apart his party?
--The Asahi Shimbun, June 26
* * *
Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
- « Prev
- Next »