Oct 03, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died in the worst way, by the bullets from an assassin’s hand. The death of the national leader of one of the great postwar economic stories triggered an outpouring of tremendous regard and goodwill from the international community. What is stunning is the way in which the Japanese people viewed their now fallen Prime Minister. It is almost the complete opposite of how the world outside Japan saw Shinzo-San.
In America’s highly revered Lincoln, there was a great groundswell of awe for ‘Honest Abe’ which has never really subsided. In Japan, a great many Japanese looked with scorn on the man who earned a national reputation as ‘Dishonest Abe.’ It is not our way to speak poorly of those who have passed from this world, be they high or low. But, given our heavy concerns for our own Guyana, we have a duty to share the thoughts and sentiments of the Japanese people. There are lessons for us from which we could learn a lot about our own leaders in government, opposition, civil society, religious ranks, and elsewhere.
The reports from Japan are that the majority of Japanese were against the lavish state funeral that was held for their late Prime Minister. It takes a lot of hard emotions for so many to still hold such heavy hearts against one of their own. There seems to be strong justification for the hard feelings and anger against the departed PM, as can be gathered from what a member of his own Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had to say about him. Lawmaker Seiichiro Murakami of the LDP said, “I always opposed a state funeral for Abe, and I won’t attend. His administration wrecked state finances, the economy, diplomacy, and even the bureaucracy. He was an enemy of the state, a pirate.”
Those are powerful words that have a piercing quality about them, and this is made worse in that it was coming from one within Mr. Shinzo’s own political group. He must have been a chronic wrongdoer in the way he ran Japan, a terrible leader with few equals, according to the bulk of the Japanese people. Among some of the ugly truths now emerging about Abe is that, while he was regarded as a statesman by the world beyond Japan, his local record was of deceptions, cover-ups, and other leadership farces, some of which are well-practised in Guyana.
First, as PM, he pressed state agencies to doctor results so that they matched what he was selling to the public. Is there a likelihood that we Guyanese could be living with that right here with this PPP/C Government? We think of the local Environmental Protection Agency, and we shiver at what we don’t know, what is kept from us, and what could definitely hurt us. We look at GuySuCo, and nobody is certain anymore of what really goes on there, what of the billions being poured into it to keep it going.
Second, in December 2018, his Ministry of Labour was embarrassed for publishing falsified date for years. Third, in January 2019, the Nikkei newspaper carried out a survey, which revealed that 4 out of 5 Japanese did not trust statistics coming out of government offices. We cannot say if we have reached that stage yet since we don’t know; but there is the fear that some of that may already be happening, with inflation and some oil numbers standing as prime concerns. The issue of the accuracy and reliability of government provided information is a crucial one since external institutions and other groups use them to make decisions, such as whether to invest or not in Japan, and how much.
Another aspect of Shinzo Abe’s Prime Ministerial record was that he favoured his Hosoda faction with abundant patronage, while he made sure to marginalize and punish those challenging him. Guyanese should be quick to recognize many parallels in how the leadership in the PPP/C Government treats their insiders versus the fate of those crossing them. Shinzo Abe compromised the civil service, weakened the media. Lying became as commonplace as breathing. Guyanese should take careful note, given the government, leaders, and politicians that they live with today.
Exxon has to put up a sign board across the Demerara Harbour Bridge to tell Guyanese what % of revenue we are getting from the Stabroek Block!
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