Foreign Minister of Japan resigns over a small donation
Modern Tokyo Times
Lee Jay Walker
Politics in Japan can often be seen to be based on factional infighting and issues which are minor in order for senior politicians to resign. Therefore, the Foreign Minister of Japan was forced to resign over a minor detail and Seiji Maehara handed in his resignation. The opposition will be gloating however is this resignation in the interest of Japan?
Seiji Maehara the Foreign Minister was seen to be a strong leader within the leadership of the Democratic Party of Japan. He clearly took a stance against China and the Russian Federation and supported even closer relations with America.
However, the main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, appears to care little about the national self interest of Japan and alternatively the Democratic Party of Japan does the same when in opposition. Therefore, some new changes are needed in Japan in order to solve this ongoing merry-go-round whereby political leaders and ministers are forced to resign at the drop of a hat.
Apparently Seiji Maehara took a miniscule donation from a foreign national and this was somehow deemed to be a threat to national security. Therefore, the 50,000 yen donation that Seiji Maehara took from a foreign national must be the most potent 50,000 yen in Japanese history because clearly Seiji Maehara had not taken this for any ulterior motives.
From a legal position then it is clear that Japanese law forbids the practice of taking political donations from foreign nationals. Given this, the Liberal Democratic Party was technically correct because Seiji Maehara had broken the law. However, surely a minor rebuke or just an apology based on a mishap should have sufficed.
It is clear that the amount which was donated was not a kickback or taken for any negative reason. Therefore, Seiji Maehara did not endanger national security or favor any third party and instead he took an innocent donation within Japan from a foreign national.
Recently, it is abundantly clear that tensions with China and the Russian Federation have intensified. This applies to diplomatic issues surrounding territorial disputes and Seiji Maehara took a strong stance in defending Japan from his position and thinking. Therefore, many Japanese individuals will have welcomed a strong Foreign Minister, irrespective if they agreed with his stances on both issues or not.
However, for the Liberal Democratic Party, and in truth the Democratic Party of Japan would most likely have behaved in the same way if they had been in opposition, it is all about undermining the government and not about the interests of Japan.
Naoto Kan who is the current Prime Minister of Japan will feel undermined by this issue because Seiji Maehara was a rare strong leader within the hierarchy of Japanese politics. Indeed, it had been ushered that Seiji Maehara could have been a future successor to the current leader of Japan.
Seiji Maehara issued an apology and stated “I apologize to the Japanese people for stepping down after only six months and provoking distrust over a problem with my political funding, although I have sought to pursue a clean style of politics.”
I am sure that the majority of Japanese individuals will not question that Seiji Maehara was “a clean politician” and instead they will understand that he made a mistake according to Japanese law.
The resignation of Seiji Maehara leaves a sour taste because it is tinged with “political self interests” and is little to do with helping Japan.
Japan currently faces huge problems related to an increasing debt, tax reforms, aging society, pension issues, territorial disputes, and other areas; however, for the political elites in both political parties it appears to be about attacking each other rather than the interests of the Japanese people.
Yes, technically Seiji Maehara did break Japanese law with regards to donations but was 50,000 yen a threat to national security? Obviously the Foreign Minister made a mistake but not one based on self interests and the opposition took this minor mistake and blew it up out of all proportions.
Japanese political leaders appear to be interested in petty scores and forcing resignations on a whim. Therefore, the resignation of the Foreign Minister will do little to enhance the standing of Japan or the standing of politicians in Japan and for this reason many Japanese people are disillusioned because they just want prosperity and the right to enjoy their rewards for working hard.
Therefore, the real letdown and betrayal over this resignation is the defeat of common sense and ignoring the real needs of the Japanese people.