With the world’s attention on the unfolding tragedy in Japan, I completed a short interview this week with Daniel Sneider of Stanford on the post-quake future of Japanese politics. It’s online now at NBR.
One of Sneider’s most interesting points was that, as the Kan administration works through the present crisis, the prominence of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, who has been seen on television virtually constantly since disaster struck.
From what I’ve been hearing from friends in Japan, Edano’s performance has elevated his status significantly, and he has now sort of made himself the heir apparent. This is not to say I think that was on his mind. Rather, he’s performed as a Japanese political leader ought to perform. I don’t think he is thinking about aggrandizing his own personal situation. But that is one of the outcomes of what has happened.
There is a Twitter hashtag for Edano saying “Edano-san, go to sleep,” because people are worried about him and want him to rest. They see him on television, and he’s very calm and professional. He really has embodied the composure and resolve in the face of tremendous crisis that you see more broadly from the Japanese people, and I think people have really embraced him for that reason.
Read the full interview at NBR.