« 中山国交相辞任か? | トップページ | 原子力空母配備 »

2008年9月29日 (月)


(Sep. 29, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Nakayama's remarks immoderate, costly

中山国交相辞任 節度を欠いた発言だった(929日付・読売社説)

Too much water drowns the miller. Even when expounding one's opinions as a politician, one must not forget one's position as a cabinet member and keep on making remarks beyond the limits of reasonableness.


Construction and Transport Minister Nariaki Nakayama resigned Sunday to take responsibility of a series of verbal gaffes, including his description of those who have engaged in years of struggle against the expansion of Narita Airport as "squeaky wheels."


Nakayama retracted parts of his remarks, but he reiterated, "I've been thinking the Japan Teachers Union should be disbanded."


The first Diet debates under the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso will start Monday. The opposition parties were unanimous demanding Nakayama's resignation or dismissal. Nakayama's resignation seems to be aimed at minimizing any ill effects on the extraordinary Diet session and the planned House of Representatives election.


As for a delay in Narita Airport development, Nakayama said: "More or less squeaky wheels, or I believe they are [the product] of bad postwar education. It is very regrettable that the airport has not been able to expand in a milieu in which people lack the spirit of sacrificing themselves to a degree for the sake of the public good and think it good if they care only about themselves."



Accurate, but undiplomatic

In general, the climate Nakayama described seems to exist. In the case of the Narita Airport issue, there is no denying that opposition to the project has harmed the public interest--to construct and maintain an airport that is safe and equipped with sufficient landing capacity.


However, describing them as "squeaky wheels" is questionable. As the person responsible for the nation's airport administration that requires dialogue with local residents, it was an inappropriate remark.


As for the recent bribery scandal involving education board officials and teachers in Oita Prefecture, Nakayama said: "The children of Japan Teachers Union [members] can become teachers even if their grades are bad. That's why scholastic ability in Oita Prefecture is low."

Also, he said: "One of the reasons I have proposed to conduct the nationwide academic achievement examination [for primary sixth-graders and middle school third-graders] was that I thought academic ability could be poor in areas where the teachers union has strong influence. Therefore, I think that the role of conducting the nationwide academic achievement examinations has come to an end."


Nakayama has criticized the Japan Teachers Union, saying that they do not teach students about the national flag and the national anthem, and oppose moral education.



Beyond his authority

Even if his remarks may have a point, the educational issue is not under the jurisdiction of the construction and transport minister.


By saying that the role of the nationwide academic achievement examination has come to an end, Nakayama especially cannot avoid being blamed for his imprudence.


The examination, now in its second year since the Education, Science and Technology Ministry resumed administering it in 2007, has now reached the stage at which its results, at last, are about to be used to improve students' academic performances.


As for the government's tourism policy, Nakayama blurted out an apparent factual error, saying, "Japan is very introverted, or what may be called ethnically homogenous, or rather it tends to be inward-looking."


The Aso administration's record has been marred by the scandal of the Cabinet minister's resignation only five days after its launch.


Aso must immediately seek to tighten discipline and manage the political situation.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2008)

20089290154  読売新聞)


« 中山国交相辞任か? | トップページ | 原子力空母配備 »





« 中山国交相辞任か? | トップページ | 原子力空母配備 »