It seems that the boss of the newly created March 11 disaster reconstruction team, Ryu Matsumoto, that was just formed by soon-to-be ex-prime minister Naoto Kan has gone and done something really stupid within the very first week on duty. Matsumoto went up to some earthquake and tsunami ravaged areas in Northern Japan and was talking down and being extremely rude to local officials there. Now, after catching some serious backlash, the guy has been forced into resignation.
What a doofus!
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Yahoo Japan reports:
TOKYO – Japan's embattled government received a fresh blow Tuesday when the new disaster reconstruction minister resigned a week after his appointment because of criticism he was rude to officials on a trip to the tsunami-ravaged coast.
Hint: Japan. Rude. No.
The teary-eyed minister, Ryu Matsumoto, apologized and stepped down after a weekend trip in which he berated a local governor for being late to a meeting and threatened to withhold aid.
The guy was teary eyed? Bwa! Ha! Ha!
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who created the new Cabinet position last week, had hoped it would help fend off critics who have questioned his leadership in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that wiped out much of the country's northeast coast.
Oh, this episode is really going to help out Kan. Dear Mr. Prime Minister, who hired this Matsumoto guy?
Kan has been under intense pressure to step down himself, but has said he will do so only after putting Japan on a solid recovery path.
He will resign after "putting Japan on a solid recovery path"? Like how he's handled the debt problem and the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami? That means never.
Seriously, folks. I haven't laughed this hard in a loooooong time.
His government faces deep rifts in the ruling party and an increasingly emboldened opposition, which has denounced his response as dithering and poorly coordinated.
Poorly coordinated? Nah! Rubbish! I won't have it!
Matsumoto's brief performance is unlikely to help.
It may have been brief but it was a damned good show while it lasted.
In meetings with local governors over the weekend, the minister's words were regarded as arrogant and uncaring, angering local residents and political opponents. He told the governor of Iwate, one of the hardest-hit prefectures, that the government would not help municipalities that did not have good ideas about rebuilding.
Ah! Now we're getting to the nitty gritty. This idiot Matsumoto told the governor of Iwate that the government would not help unless the municipalities had good ideas? Yes. I see. Translation: "Yeah. We don't have a fricking clue as to what we're doing so someone has got to have a good idea. How about you guys?"
Gee, come to think of it, this is a representative of the same government who claims that they need to raise Sales Tax to pay for reconstruction of northern Japan! No one said that the people of northern Japan had to score at least 80% on a multiple choice quiz before they got the money!
To Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai, Matsumoto expressed irritation that he was made to wait for the tardy governor. Matsumoto refused to shake Murai's hand when he entered the room and scolded the visibly surprised governor.
Maybe Murai was late as the roads are all shot and the trains all fell off a cliff during the earthquake or something.
"When a guest comes to visit, do not call up the guest until you have arrived in the room," he told Murai. "Do you understand?"
Oh! Goody! He even yells at the people who were victimized by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster! I hope he steeped on their feet, farted and slammed the door on their butts on the way out too!
He then warned journalists in the room not to report his words.
He then warned the journalists not to repeat his words!? Sensational! This is funny! Is this the same guy who was teary eyed when he resigned? Is this guy for real?
However, they were widely reported in the media, and a video of the exchange was posted on the Internet.
Oh! Juicy! Where's this video? I gotta see this... Oh lucky me! Here it is:
Pardon my French, ladies and gentlemen, but what an asshole this guy is. It may not sound like he is being rude because Japanese is such a very polite language, but if that we me on the receiving end, I'd probably tell this jerk to "get out!" What an arrogant worm!
Jin Sato, the outspoken mayor of badly damaged Minami Sanriku, said the minister's comments deeply upset disaster victims already frustrated with the recovery process.
Think so? Nah!
"I have been saying all along that this government has no sense of speed," he said on public broadcaster NHK. "My frank opinion is that this resignation drama is another misstep."
I'm beginning to think that this Naoto Kan guy is the best prime minister we've had since Mori. The mistakes these people make are hilarious and they give me a good hearty laugh every morning. Seriously, folks, this is unbelievable.
I'm going to be sorry to see Kan go. That guy and his posse make great entertainment.
Does "doofus" explain this guy's behaviour? Not for me, it doesn't. Incompetence doesn't either, really. I'm looking for a more satisfying explanation.
I had a different take on this guy: I think the response clearly shows that Japan does not really want a decisive leader, even tho they criticize Kan (and every PM since the war, it seems) for being indecisive and slow to respond. Not exactly the qualities you want in a leader in an emergency. But I think the kind of person with those qualities would never be accepted in a Japanese leader. Even tho they say that's what they want, in fact someone of that type would get shot down in flames on day one.
I wish I could say that you are wrong. But all I can say is, "Good point!"
I think it's stretching things too far to say (as I did) that Matsumoto would make a good leader. I was hoping that his tough talk revealed someone who was able and willing to cut thru the usual bullshit and quickly get down to action. On the other hand, your analysis is more convincing ("Heck! We ain't got a clue in Tokyo, so please come up with some good ideas QUICKLY that we can rubber stamp and take credit for. And by yesterday, dammit!")
Also, Matsumoto's threat to the media were completely out of line and I'm very glad to see it was recorded and put on the Internet. Yawn! Just another closet fascist, I spose.
I still stand by my original point.I'm glad you agree. Then I must be right!
Seeing as everyone is jumping on this guy, let me put in a word for him.
1) He's older than Murai. His words have the tone of advice from a "sempai". This doesn't translate well into English (wakatta? when said by a senior to a junior isn't nearly so abrasive as the bullying English "understand?" In fact, it can hide a gruff kindness.)
2) He was teaching Murai a point of etiquette. What's wrong with that?
3) He was telling Murai not to be over-reliant on central government. Surely a good thing?
4) His "threat" to the media was obviously a joke. Everyone in the room took it that way (they laughed, and Matsumoto himself is smiling). His request that it be off-record was clearly genuine, and could have been intended to spare Murai's face and feelings rather than (or perhaps as well as) Matsumoto's own. OK, it wasn't a request, it was more like an order. But maybe that's how all pols speak? Japan is a hierarchical society and the older pols always seem to me to use this tone when talking to the press unofficially, like they're talking to their younger brothers or their club juniors.
I don't know if I can say that I agree 100%. Perhaps it doesn't matter if Matsumoto is older or not. I thinkk some people view it that he committed three huge faux pas in Japan:
1) He is the guest visiting another person's office. It is not his place to teach Murai any manners.
2) It is considered rude to berate someone or complain about these sorts of mistakes (that Murai made) in public.
3) Matsumoto also pissed off Kyushu people by making the silly remark later that, "I am direct because I am from Kyushu!"
I think many people think Matsumoto is guilty of high handed bullying and he is arrogant when, after a disaster, people are trying to pull together in a spirit of cooperation. That is not the time to complain about trivial matters like manners when 20,000 some people died, etc...
I think this is why people are mad. Under normal circumstances Matsumoto might still have a job but I guess people see it as these are not normal circumstances.... I suppose I might agree with them about that...
Anyway, diplomatic is not a word we'd use to describe Matsumoto, eh? Chuckle!
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