Japan has had its first change in government in over 50 years as the liberals led by Yukio Hatoyama swept to a landslide victory. The man who is about to become Japan’s next prime minister condemned "US-led market fundamentalism" and vowed to shield his nation from unrestricted globalisation and move Japan toward a regional currency union and away from the unstable Dollar.
In an essay published in the Japanese magazine Voice, Mr. Hatoyama wrote that the global economy had "damaged traditional economic activities" while market fundamentalism had destroyed "local communities", citing the decision by Junichiro Koizumi, former prime minister, to privatize Japan's post office.
"... we will not implement policies that leave economic activities in areas relating to human lives and safety, such as agriculture, the environment and medicine, at the mercy of the tides of globalism," Mr. Hatoyama wrote. He went on to state a need for better welfare, more child support and wealth redistribution.
The sentiment of Japan’s voters has been moving in this direction for more than ten years since the attempt to rescue their economy in the 90’s by giving truck loads of money to their large banks was a dismal failure. The conservative government meanwhile was moving in the opposite direction by allowing American business practices such as importing labor and the use of temp workers to drive down wages. The recent slump led to massive layoffs and in turn deportations of ethnic Japanese that had been encouraged to emigrate back to Japan after generations abroad.
These layoffs also produced something the Japanese had not seen since the war, homeless people living in the streets. Americans still take these scenes for granted since Reagan dumped the chronically mentally ill on the curb. Today the majority of county jail inmates should be mental health patients and millions of working poor are tucked away in hidden camps or populating parking lots at night. Japanese voters completely replaced their entire government for just a fraction of what we take for granted every day. Yes we can, or can we? www.prairie2.com