And sooner or later, Japan will decide for good or for worse what to do with its own past : face it or erase it. If lately, the trend has definitely been in favor of revisionism (see "Claiming Dokdo as Takeshima equals claiming Seoul as Gyeongseong"), Hatoyama's victory yesterday clearly revives hopes for much sounder relationships between Japan and Korea.
As a cautious but hopeful celebration, I spilled this "white blogule" today :
Land of the rinsing sun ?Taro Aso after Tzipi Livni and before... ?"
As Taro Aso became Prime Minister, he fulfilled a personal ambition to the risk of marring his own name : Japan was bound to face tough times, and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) bound to struggle at the 2009 elections.
Base case scenario then was a 1993 style victory for the Democratic Party of Japan.
Even if a few DPJ leaders have experienced their own turpitudes over the past year, LDP took very much the expected dive. Taro Aso's era and sense of timing could be summed up by one drunken Finance Minister at a G7 summit, and record high unemployment figures published on the eve of elections.
Forget about the base case scenario : Sunday, DPJ claimed over 300 seats out of 480 at the Lower House.
Hopefully, this worst case scenario for the LDP could turn out to be the best case scenario for Japan.
Because Japan badly needs change. Not change as in "political alternation", but change as in "political and societal shift".
Before becoming a controversial Prime Minister, Taro Aso was a controversial Foreign Minister, pushing all the (extreme) right buttons to please imperialist dieharders, infuriating Chinese and Korean neighbors*, and even dispising Hiromu Nonaka, a LDP rival, for being "burakumin", a person coming from a minority. Nevermind the fact that Korean blood runs through the body of the Emperor himself.
Taro's successor Yukio Hatoyama defends burakus and Japanese of Korean origin. He fights against discrimination at home and for reconciliation with neighbors. He leads a movement in favor of stronger ties between Korea and Japan, and has a vision for both countries as natural partners in the region.
Behind this 62 year-old leader, DPJ sent to the Diet an impressive roster of young people, many of whom women, kicking out of the political landscape a collection of dinosaurs who'd be running for decades a country glued in keiretsu conservatism and bureaucracy.
These elections could mean the end of Post-War Japan and the beginning of something new. Now would be the perfect time to - at last** ! - set the record straight about what happened during and before the said war, and to get rid of the only minority that tarnishes its greatness : a dangerous clique of nostalgist and revisionist fascists.
Japan has a unique opportunity to embrace the new millenium as a great nation at peace with its neighbors, its own past, and its own citizens.
blogules 2009 (also in French : "Le Pays du Soleil Lavant ?")
* see "
** see too many previous blogules about Japan, and why unrepentant Japan shouldn't be allowed to seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.