Thursday, May 27, 2010

Japan’s PM Sparks Fashion Row

The rise of Yukio Hatoyama to the role of Prime Minister seemed to signal a seismic shift in Japanese politics last year, ending nearly a half-century of Conservative rule in the country, but now even his choice of shirts is drawing criticism from the Japanese public. At issue now is the multi-color check shirt that he recently wore to a barbecue (pictured at right), one Japanese designer even asked: “is anyone able to stop him wearing such a thing?” It’s worth noting though that a Shanghai-based retailer is selling copies of the infamous shirt at $500 a pop, so someone must like them.

On a more serious note, Hatoyama’s ruling coalition may be in big trouble, as he seems ready to allow the United States to maintain a massive military presence on the island of Okinawa. The US Marine Air Station has long been a sore point for Okinawans who complain about the noise and pollution generated by the base and the crimes committed on the island by off-duty Marines, which they feel often go unpunished. Hatoyama had caused a diplomatic row with the United States earlier this year by seeming to support a call from his coalition partners in the Japanese government, the Social Democrats, who want the base removed from Okinawa entirely. Now, Hatoyama seems willing to just allow the base to be moved from one part of Okinawa to another less-populated area. The Social Democrats are outraged by what they feel is a betrayal from Hatoyama and are threatening to pull out of the coalition, which would cause Hatoyama’s government to collapse. But with recent aggressive moves by North Korea, including the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, Hatoyama likely feels he’s not now in a position to weaken the US-Japanese military alliance, even if it winds up costing him his job.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: