I have a harsh symbol of Japan’s political cynicism on my desk. It’s a coffee cup, with the caricatures of the prime ministers on it. What makes it so cynical is that there’s a space to add four more faces.
When I bought it from the vendor, she explained that the space is there so the company can easily paint on the next prime minister’s face. “Because as we know,” she grimaced, “they never stick around that long.”
Her words bluntly state Japan’s problem with the revolving door at its top political job.
Naoto Kan became prime minister in June last year. If he stays on the job for another week, he’ll be the longest-serving leader of Japan in recent years.
It’s hardly an accomplishment, though, considering that his four predecessors were all on the job a year or less.
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