Last week Japan’s uninspiring prime minster, Yoshihide Suga, surprised nobody by announcing that he would not seek reelection by his party at the end of the month. Suga’s lackluster career as PM began about one year ago, when Shinzo Abe resigned due to his terrible IBS, and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party needed a place filler.
Or, if my thoughts on the subject are to be believed, they needed a human sacrifice to take the heat for the shit storm year about to begin. If Tokyo decided to go forward with The Olympics, it would be screwed. If Tokyo decided not to hold The Olympics, it would be equally as screwed. More than that, Japan’s overall handling of the Covid situation bears the markings of a government that was purposefully trying to kill off a large portion of its ageing population. And yet it failed at even that, seeing as not surprisingly, Japanese obaa-sans and ojii-sans are basically indestructible. But I speculate.
In Japan, the myth of “cutting off the head of the snake,” is strong, and often twisted to fit one’s own convenience. High ranking government officials and presidents of corrupt corporations resign all the time, taking entire burdens onto themselves and ideally leaving the public with the image that the company or leading faction, itself, is not to blame. Find the perfect scapegoat, and you can live through any scandal.
One year ago, with general elections looming in their future, The LDP needed a face for their incompetence. I can just picture all the LDP guys getting together to figure out who to sacrifice, whose features and public demeanor were the most reptilian. A public figure who appeared venomous and possibly soulless. Whose head most closely resembled that of a snake. From there, the choice was easy.
Yoshihide Suga was always meant to be the head of the snake. But be sure, I am not saying the man himself is an actual demon. Lately it feels like the public personas of celebrities are almost always at odds with their true personalities, so by that logic Yoshihide Suga is one hell of a great guy in real life. But that hardly matters. He is merely one cog in an evil machine.
In Japan, cutting off the head of the snake will rarely kill the beast. Rather, it is damage control, a survival technique of sorts. Survival of the beast, that is.
(photo credit お絵描き日記～イラストレーター照井正邦)