politicians that commit seppuku

Well, not literally but can you imagine an elected politician who steps down from high office after eight months because he couldn't deliver on a campaign promise? Larry are you reading?

That's exactly what Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has done.

It comes after he broke an election pledge to move an unpopular US military base away from the island of Okinawa.

It's especially sad because he was a liberal trying to bring the public back into the business of their own democracy.

He said he had also asked DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, who has been embroiled in a funding scandal, to step down to "revitalise" the party.

The centre-left DPJ's election landslide last year ended half a century of conservative rule in Japan.

Announcing his decision to the country in an emotional televised address, he said he had "tried to change politics in which the people of Japan would be the main actors" but had not succeeded.

"That's mainly because of my failings," he said.

...and that he realizes the need to cleanse the party of the corruption of money.

"Our politics must break with money," said Mr Hatoyama. "We must become completely clean in order to revitalise our party."


Lastly the story surprised me by how much the Japanese want the American base in Okinawa shut down.


If all the US politicians who haven't delivered on promises were

to step down simultaneously, the vacuum would cause Washington to collapse on itself. I respect Mr. Hatoyama for having the moral courage to resign. Whether or not his promise about the US Base was reasonable or not, I don't know. I think not.

I was in Okinawa in 1965...on my way to Vietnam. The approach to the Port of Naha allowed us to see numerous beach areas where hulks of WWII vehicles and boats still lie rusting. We had a brief liberty and I wanted to see Fort Buckner and the WWII museum there...and go to the PX for a few things I needed. I took a cab. There was a lot of construction going on and at every site the lead guy was using a metal detector sweeping for buried explosives.

The battle for Okinawa was terrible. In less than 89 days we had 62,000 casualties and the Japanese lost well over 120,000 killed. Okinawins suffered greatly too...at the hands of the Japanese and as collateral casualties of the intense fighting.

Wars have consequences. We won. We paid dearly. Tough bananas if the Japanese and Okinawa don't want us there. We bought the place with blood.

Stan Bozarth