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Politicians, straighten up! No.3 [2011/06/21]
Politicians, straighten up! No.3
--Comments and Reactions--


I have received words of encouragement and sympathies to the open letter I wrote, as an amateur writer, hoping that my sincere wish for the good of the country and of the people would be understood even if a little.

I have posted those that I have received from the leaders of municipalities throughout Japan, at my own discretion.

******************************************************

Mayor Mitsunobu Takase, Shimanto City, Kochi Prefecture
I totally agree to the opinion Chairman Sasakawa expressed in the Seiron (Sankei Shimnbun Newspaper, June 9) and I believe that he is speaking on behalf of many citizens of Japan. I have always thought that there was a big disparity in the line of thinking between the politicians and the citizens, and I feel that today politics has degraded to such a point that it is almost impossible to fill this disparity.

We are facing a great national crisis today and this is the time that the politicians need to think of the lives of the citizens even at the risk of their own life. But what we are seeing are politicians trying to save their own positions, parading around to show their value of existence, making every effort to expand their party influence. It is indeed disgraceful and it pains me to see this most embarrassing political situation.

I think that there are two traits that are necessary in any politician; one is a strong leadership to be able to carry through the governance of the country even though there might be opposition from some elements. At the same time, a leader must also possess the meekness to govern from the citizen’s perspective. It is very unfortunate that the politicians today are doing exactly the opposite. It makes me even think that they are an arrogant group of people that are so used to being cold “elites” that they forget the fundamental traits needed in a politician.

If it were not Japan, I am sure there would have been a coup d’état long ago. Is it that the Japanese are composed and calm that look at the current political fiasco so calmly, or worse still, it would be of grave concern if the citizens are trying to put on a face of indifference as to the future of our country by being totally disgusted.

Mayor Yukiharu Inoue, Miyako City, Fukuoka Prefecture
I would like to pay my greatest respects to Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, the chairman of the Nippon Foundation, having read the his article “Politicians, straighten up ! Is this right?” in the column Seiron (Sankei Shinbun Shimbun Newspaper) He is presenting a truly fair argument as a person who thinks of the best for the future of our national assembly. It is not an exaggeration to say that Japan is at this moment facing a critical period and we must think seriously about the future of our country. Yet even at such a time, many politicians are pursuing nothing but their personal interests that leads us to doubt if that they are thinking of the interests of the nation at all. They cannot openly speak out what they think and where justice is not sacrificed, Chairman Sasakawa’s opinion points directly at the problem. I am very happy that it has been said.

Chairman Sasakawa, I do hope that you will continue to lead us in the right direction as the country’s opinion leader.

Mayor Genichi Tanaka, Kohoku City, Saga Prefecture
On reading Chairman Sasakawa’s article, “Politicians, straighten up!- Is this right?” I totally agree that it is a fair argument and would like the parliamentarians to read it and to look back on their behavior.

It is despairing to see that when everybody in Japan is helping the Tohoku region which has been devastated by the terrible disaster that the parliamentarians are defending themselves and immersed in power struggle.

I do not understand the reasoning behind the opposition parties submitting a cabinet non-confidence motion at this time. As for the ruling party there were a number of voices that were in favor until the previous day, but turned upon their words except for two members and a number of those members who had abstained. This is a show of simple lack of morale which is truly exasperating to see.

A true politician would leave the party and vote for the motion if that were their true intention to have the motion go through for the betterment of Japan today.

With so many of such degrading politicians it is my wish that they would learn a lesson from the local municipal assemblies. The number of legislators should also be cut by half so as not to waste the taxpayers’ money on unnecessary spending.

Mayor Masaki Iwashima, Tara City, Saga Prefecture
This is no time to be staging political power struggle. We are in the midst of the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The legislators must be united and direct their full attention to the reconstruction work.

Mayor Yasunari Zaibu, Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture
The proposition of legislators is to create no political vacuum and to build a safe and secure society for the citizens.

As Chairman Sasakawa mentions in this article, the legislators today are presuming too much on the goodwill of the citizens, and it infuriates me to no end.

However we in the municipal governments are responsible to protect the lives and assets and the future of our citizens. We cannot ever escape from our people and our responsibilities. We will continue to toil and do our utmost for the citizens.
Mayor Masami Tsuruta, Yunomae City, Kumamoto Prefecture
I would say that those who do not possess any vision for the nation nor for the defense of one’s country should never be a legislator. We do not need people who have no vision nor idea of what a nation is to be. As Chairman Sasakawa writes I also believe that those people should return their badges as legislators.

Mayor Hiromitsu Nakaitsu, Nagasu City, Kumamoto Prefecture
It is my third year of office as mayor of Nagasu City and I am still a long way before I can call myself a politician. Yet, I am in the veteran class when it comes to my experience in administrative work.
Having served for two years as mayor, I am convinced that there are three important obligations that we as leaders must look to fulfill. Change the status quo, challenge anew, and to act with speed.
The post-disaster measures taken by the government have left the worst stain in the history of our country. As Chairman Sasakawa has so rightly states, it is from a total lack of the competence on the part of the politicians.
The competence of politicians is not related to their educational background. It is the ability to be constantly listening to the voices of the people and to make judgments, make well-though out plans and govern in order to lead the country to a better, richer state.
  Looking back into the history of our country there have been a number of national crisis which our forefathers have overcome. There is no reason that our politicians today cannot do what they have done. But the current political state of affairs obviously makes it very difficult to overcome the current crisis.
As Chairman Sasakawa states politics always needs to regenerate. Unless there is quick thinking and action to regenerate, Japan will collapse.
I speak as a mayor of a small city but I feel that there is an absolute need to establish a political system that can adapt to different circumstances

Mayor Shuji Korenaga, Usa City, Oita Prefecture
I have exactly the same thoughts as Chairman Sasakawa of the Nippon FoundaitonFoundation. I wish for a speedy recovery of the lost trust in the government in order to for the disaster-stricken areas to be able to be restored and reconstructed as soon as possible. We, Usa City will also continue our assistance to the best of our abilities.

Mayor Yasuyoshi Nishijima, Saiki City, Oita Prefecture
I could not agree more to Chairman of the Nippon Foundation Mr. Sasakawa and I have been tremendously impressed and touched by the swift financial support given to the volunteers and their activities.
Our city too, like the disaster-stricken cities and towns also faces riaRias coastline. It is assumed that there will be a major earthquake in the Nankaido (southern sea route of Japan) region so we feel it as much as our own disaster as that of the Tohoku people. We have dispatched fire-fighters, paramedics, health nurses, administrative staff to help in the relief activities, as well as fund-raising, dispatch off relief goods, provision of housing, among other assistance.
With the massive disaster I have realized the importance of grasping the true situation of the site in order to make judgments as to what is needed and to take swift action, while there is a tendency for delayed action due prioritizing discussion before action. We will continue our support to the best of our abilities.

Mayor Yoichi Sato, Hida City, Oita Prefecture
I believe that the mayors of cities and towns of the disaster areas are devotedly working with their citizens to recover from the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.
On the other hand, I feel that they are grinding their teeth with vexation at the wretched action of the government and the diet members.
At the recent meeting of the Japan Association of City Mayors there was the feeling of indignation that permeated throughout the room, even without any of the mayors raising their voices.
I have had the pleasure of reading Chairman Sasakawa’s article in the Seiron “Politiciannas, straighten up! Is this right?” published in the Sankei Shinbun Shimbun Newspaper. Needless to say, the mayors of cities and towns must have felt a strong sense of satisfaction, as I have myself by the words of Mr. Sasakawa which is indeed a fair argument and represents the voices of the citizen of the entire country and at the same time a sharp and accurate indication towards the politicians.
Even before the March disaster the dissatisfaction and distrust of the people towards the government had been mounting but the measures taken by the government in answering to the needs of the disaster-stricken areas and their people as well as to the actions taken towards the nuclear accident have created an abnormal state of affairs in that the people are not only dissatisfied but, far more and above, there is a feeling of despair and resignation. It is natural that Japanese politicians should be ridiculed by the world that they are “taking advantage of the voters”.
As one politician mandated with the work of municipal administration I would like to engrave the words of Chairman Sasakawa firmly into my mind and carry out my given task with all my might.
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