Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Interesting remark by Yukio Hatoyama, the new Japanese Prime Minister.

He's reported as saying "I hate whale meat." [I trust it is not a typographic error and that he did not mean to say he just "ate" whale meat].

It's not really surprising to hear this from a Japanese citizen of his generation. I hear this all the time in Tokyo, because whale meat is associated in the psyche of the Prime Minister's generation to the post WW-II hard times when Japanese people had little else to eat than boiled whale meat in the way of protein.

What's interesting, and perhaps a sign of new times, is that for the first time a Prime Minister says loud what the majority of Japanese citizens believe. Of course I'm not naive, and I know Mr. Yukio Hatoyama did not say "I love whales". But I'm sure that's how it red for the bureaucrats of the Japanese Fisheries Agency.

Talking of bureaucrats, Mr. Yukio Hatoyama was elected two months ago because he'd pledged to put an end to the uncontrolled power of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, and to stop excessive and unjustified public spendings and government subsidies.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency has been spending millions every year to artificially maintain a whaling tradition under the guise of expensive subsidized scientific research.

Until now, no Japanese Prime Minister had shown any interest in scrutinizing this non-sense, because they acted as if they liked whale meat.

With his confession this week, is Mr. Hatoyama opening a new page?

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