Monday, September 01, 2008

Fukuda Fuks Off.

There's a possibly apocryphal story about an opinion poll being carried out in the United States to find who was the most famous living Japanese person. It was won by Bruce Lee, a dead Chinese man. Despite the fact that it remains the world's second largest economy no one seems to care much about the government of the country, including me. So whereas there has been months of saturation coverage of the US election, with every twist and turn being scrutinised, the Japanese prime minister can resign and hardly anyone notices.

In theory it should be interesting, Fukuda was in office for just a year having succeeded Shinzo Abe last September, who in turn succeeded Junichiro Koizumi* the previous September so it appears to a highly tumultuous scene. In practice no one seems to find it that important. Perhaps there is a sense that Japan is run in a more collegiate style so that the individuals matter less than their equivelents in France, Germany or the USA. If that's the case though then it's hard to explain why 3 of the last 4 Prime Ministers have failed to last a year in office.

* Koizumi is the only Japanese politician I can recall to have established a public image overseas, apart from the bloke George H W Bush was sick over.

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