Like a bear urinates in the woods to mark out its territory

Japan’s Shinzo Abe leaving his legacy as Japan is now involved in war games in the Sea of Japan in a show of force against North Korea. Wouldn’t it be a consummation of Abe’s power if the US went to war against North Korea? Abe leaves his legacy just like a male bear urinates in the woods to mark out its territory as the Kake Gakuen scandal will ultimately become just another “urination on a tree in the woods.” It’s good to get along with other male bears in the woods, like Abe’s friend inside the ministry of education, Kotara Kake. Kake works out a deal for Abe for free land worth ¥3.68 billion, plus ¥9.6 billion in government subsidies. Another “Abe legacy”. Any difference between now and 300 years ago when shoguns ruled through the power and influence of rice farming?

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Source: Japan Times

Shinzo Abe and the arrogance of power

by James D.J. Brown
June 1, 2017

On Sunday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe overtook Junichiro Koizumi to become Japan’s third longest serving postwar leader. Ahead of him are only the 20th century political giants of Shigeru Yoshida and Eisaku Sato. Abe has used this time to leave a lasting imprint on Japan, transforming its security architecture and lending his name to Abenomics, his strategy for economic revival.

Abe’s strong leadership was initially welcomed by many who had grown weary of the succession of short-lived administrations. Yet, if there is a golden rule of politics, it is that power corrupts as hubris inflates leaders’ egos and they begin to conflate personal interests with those of the state. After five continuous years in office, Abe increasingly appears to be suffering from this affliction.

The most recent sign is the Kake Gakuen scandal in which Abe is alleged to have pressured the education ministry to approve the opening of a veterinary medicine department at a university run by his friend, Kotaro Kake. After an application period of just eight days, with Kake Gakuen being the sole applicant, the permit was the first issued in 52 years. On the basis of this approval, the school operator was given free land worth ¥3.68 billion, plus ¥9.6 billion in subsidies.

To make matters worse, the former vice education minister whose claims lend support to the accusations against Abe has been targeted by smear stories in the government-friendly Yomiuri Shimbun. This gives the impression that the Abe administration is seeking to cover up its influence peddling through the intimidation of witnesses.

This scandal bears a striking resemblance to the recent Moritomo Gakuen case in which it is alleged that another private educational establishment used its connections with the Abe family to purchase a plot of land for less than 15 percent of its appraised value. This earlier scandal is made worse by the fact that Moritomo Gakuen is a nationalist organization that promotes prewar educational values and has been accused of hate speech against Chinese and Koreans.

Please go to The Japan Times to read the entire article.

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