Following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, Japanese politicians were slow in making decisions, failed to respond to the crisis, and showed a lack of communicative competence. The foreign media described this situation as one in which “a people of high civic standards is being led by incompetent leaders.” Our politicians, as those responsible for leading the nation, must now more than ever before (1) act based on a positive and bright vision for the future of Japan, (2) communicate effectively with persons both inside and outside the country, and (3) build a good and sound Japan. To do so, we expect them to perform the following tasks.
1. Bring Vision to Politics!
First of all, politicians must develop a positive and bright vision. We want them to present us with a vision of how to make Japan better. What the politics of today is lacking is this kind of vision. The most important thing for any organization is to have a vision based on firm and definite principles. Armed with a bright vision, we can work together to break free of the current sense of gloom and uncertainty and take effective action. We want leaders who will develop a vision, convey it to the public, and lead the people in the right direction.
2. Strengthen the Economy as a Source of National Power!
We want our politicians to ask themselves what is the most important requirement in enhancing Japan’s national power. Without a strong economy, new industries and new jobs will not be generated. Without a strong economy, a good social security system cannot be created. Without a strong economy, tax revenues will not increase and fiscal collapse will be impossible to avoid. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan prioritized the economy under the slogan, “rich country, strong military.” Japan should today adopt a new slogan, “rich country, happy people,” that commits us to strengthening the economy to ensure the prosperity of the people.
3. Think Globally!
Today, the ability to make judgments and decisions based on a global perspective is an absolute requirement in all areas of politics, economics, science and culture. An inward-looking nation will be left behind by the rest of the world. For Japan to protect and assert its national interests in the critical areas of foreign relations and national security as well as further afield in such areas as food, the environment, resources and energy, it must at all times participate in the affairs of the international community on its own initiative. To achieve this, it is absolutely necessary for our political leaders to embody a sophisticated international sensibility and have personal networks. Political leaders should not only participate in international conferences but also actively express and convey their opinions to the international community as representatives of Japan.
4. Act with Conviction!
It is not an easy task for a nation to make decisions through the appropriate processes and translate these decisions into action. It is therefore necessary for politicians to bring together their highest wisdom to ensure that the affairs of the nation do not become stagnant. This requires unity of thought and of action.
The disastrous earthquake, decreasing population, and huge fiscal debt have brought the nation to the edge of the abyss and have left us with no time to waste. We find ourselves in turbulent times and in an age of social upheaval, where the lowly in rank supplant their superiors. Armed with a firm conviction and vision, our politicians need to exchange their views as individuals and, if necessary, should always be open to the possibility of leaving their parties to form new political parties and committing to actions that lead to the emergence of new alliances and new realities.
Organizations generate overwhelmingly more vitality and maintain better conditions when working in line with individual beliefs than in times of stagnation. When taking action, partisan interests and tactics must be set aside, and personal interests and selfish desires must be discarded to ensure that action is being taken from the perspective of “what is most important for the people of Japan?”
The public is calmly observing every action and word of their politicians: who is sacrificing the best interests of the people for his own personal gain, which political party is guided by its own partisan interests and tactics, and who is busily engaged in discussions that leave the entire public out in the cold. Our hope is that our politicians will act out of strong conviction and that they will break through the current impasse with a commitment to wisdom and action.