As some of you know, I lived in Japan a good while and, though I viewed the governement with a critical eye, I never saw it as “fascist.”
It’s a system with its plusses and minuses. I despise the Japanese royal family (as an institution, not as people), because mostly it is a pacifier for those in the country who want to suck on Japan’s imperialist past. It’s an infantalizing entity.
The government is big, dumb, and mostly benevolent–at least in its intentions. Rather than fascist, it is supine and ineffective, throwing sops to whatever interest groups have the most pull. Oldies, various industries, farmers (that’s a big one). Everyone agrees to throw each other money, everyone agrees not to compete or do so much.
A lot of people really hate the Japanese flag and the Japanese national anthem. Every year there is a row about some school principal who wouldn’t play “Kimigayo” at graduation, etc. There are a lot of people who see these things as symbols of imperialism. It’s similar to the embarrassing thing with the Confederate battle flag in the US.
Among dipshit 50- and 60-year-olds, however, there is the “Japan was right in WWII” contingent (you’ll run into these), and there are the van-driving loony wingnuts (I’ve never met one personally), who really want to see the Emperor return to genuine power (or whatever it was he had when he had it).
There is talk now about Japan’s remilitarization. That can only happen with a dipshit like Bush enabling it. The future of Asia is China, and Japan knows it. Japan is a dying country. Every year the Japanese economy is “turning the corner.” Well, we’ve been hearing that for 14 years now. You’ve got a shrinking population, a fuct environment, and no substantial increase in the standard of living fora long time (compare Japan 2005 to the US 1955–50 years later the Japanese have their crappy, tiny houses with room for only one car, with no dishwashers and no decent ovens, with horrible clothes washers but no dryers–it’s a fuckin’ joke). The country has no political or spiritual (ie, no vision of the “the good” for itself, no goals or aspirations–just whining about when the economy will go back to “normal”–uh, this IS normal, idiots), no direction whatsoever.
I can’t believe that total dumbshit Koizumi was elected in such a landslide. The Japanese really do have no vision anymore.
Japan may not be fascist, but it does have an infantile political culture, and it is SOL for the long term.