Thursday, 6 June 2013


If you haven't already, go and read this Asahi Shimbun article about the highly hyped billions that were supposed to flow into the coffers of the disaster-stricken prefectures and, one could hope, into the pockets of the 300,000 displaced survivors of the 2011 tsunami living in shanty towns and on the floors of their relatives' shacks. If they have any family members left.

We are not talking meaningless amounts of money. We're talking ¥200 billion -- $2 billion. And what does the government, and more to the point, the survivors have to show for all this? Pardon my French, but fuck all. Or as the Asahi puts it:

Counting sea turtles, publicizing a green-haired mascot and promoting a manga event with an “idol” group were among prefectural projects financed by an emergency employment budget intended to help victims of the March 2011 disaster.
But no one displaced by the disaster was actually hired for these projects.
The employment measures budget, worth 200 billion yen ($2 billion), was designed to provide livelihoods for people in the Tohoku region who lost their homes or jobs after the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, the government’s ambiguous wording has allowed prefectures to freely spend the money on jobs for local residents.
Of the 200 billion yen, 108.5 billion yen went to 38 prefectures other than the nine damaged by the quake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The Asahi Shimbun has found that disaster victims accounted for only 2,000--or 3 percent--of the 65,000 employed by these prefectures in fiscal 2011 and 2012.

This is all par for the course, unsurprising to a silhouette who is beginning to feel the cynicism of old return, despite his best intentions to believe that we can do better. That we do actually give a shit about our fellow human beings and not just the votes that they posses to keep the charlatans and their sycophants living on easy street. But I have to wonder. And more depressing than the jobs for the boys is the news that the Abe government has no clue or intention of chasing up these wasted billions. And in fact is readying to pump in trillions more. Trillions, that is ¥25 trillion over the next five years.

But with no accounting for the spending, no enforcement of standards or punishment for transgressions, oh and no ethics, I'm left wondering what on earth this hype about Abenomics means. As far as I can tell it amounts to jobs for the boys, business as usual and one massive fuck-you to the survivors of the tsunami.

I hope I'm wrong.


Billy said...

It seems as though the central government of Japan would have us believe that Japan absorbed the 3/11 hit as a nation, which is to say "why should any one part of the nation get special treatment over the other? We Japanese are in this together."

But, it sure didn't seem that way a couple of years ago and still doesn't to those who haven't forgotten...

Patrick Sherriff said...

It's thoroughly depressing. I'm not even surprised or so shocked. Just watching hope die that we, as fairly moral people, could expect our fellow man to do the right thing at a time of crisis. And instead we lined our pockets, ignored the suffering and got on with the bullshit distractions that pass for normal life. We can do better. And we bloody must.

kamo said...

"I hope I'm wrong."

No, you're not :(

And unfortunately, a sad face emoticon is all I have left in me by this point. Cynicism Fatigue sets in early in this part of the world.