You would have thought that the earth stopped spinning and the sun had failed to rise and the overenthusiastic reaction to Prime Minister Hatoyama's resignation yesterday. Wait, no, that was in some bizzaro universe where Japanese people care about politics and Japanese politicians care about people. Here, in reality, neither of these things are true. Japanese people care about shopping and Japanese politicians care about preserving a largely hereditary hierarchy. If you will remember 8 months ago, after the elections I stated that I didn't think it would really matter. I could get a little excited that the dam in Gunma was suspended and that Futenma might be halted. Also there was slight talk about immigration reform, but really, what is going to change. Very little changes very slowly in Japan. Hatoyama, who received payments of $175,000 a month from his mother to support his political career was a soft child of privilege who had little business running his country. His successor? Lather, rinse, repeat. If it was truly the Futenma issue that brought him down then wasn't he toppling anyway? If the U.S. military can boss you around in your own country, are you the leader? As I have said to anyone who asks, bases in Okinawa, Futenma included, aren't really a U.S. versus Japan issue as much as they are a Tokyo versus Okinawa issue. If Tokyo wants the bases, put them in Tokyo, if not have the courage to say no to the Americans.
When any leader leaves, the speculation begins over who might replace them. I don't care. It will just be a copy of a copy of a copy until something actually changes.