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The Old Boys’ Club February 10th, 2014 | Author: David

The Old Boys’ Club

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Last weekend, the people of Tokyo went to the polls to choose a new governor. Actually, most of them didn’t bother going at all, but that is a different topic.

Anyway, the citizens of Tokyo had to choose one from sixteen candidates, all of whom were men, and only two of whom were under the age of fifty. Most of the candidates were in their sixties or seventies, and two of them were even in their eighties.

This morning, I read another story about the organising committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Not surprisingly, all of them are men, and most of them are old. Perhaps more surprisingly, none of them can speak English, which seems strange when you consider that they are going to be in charge of a global event.

I understand the Asian culture of respecting the aged, but is it not time that Japan started putting younger people in positions of power? The British Prime Minister is about the same age as I am, and President Obama is only a few years older.

As we have discussed before, the problem with old men is that most of them are still living in a different era. They tend to be very conservative and risk-averse, and of course they do not like change. At the moment, a small group of old men is making plans for the future of nuclear power in Japan, but most of them will be dead within the next 10-15 years. Are they really the best people to make those decisions?

What puzzles me is that for most people, 60 (or 65) is considered the appropriate age for retirement, so why is it okay for politicians to carry on into their 80s? Where is the new blood? Where is the energy of Japan’s youth?

Anyway, I would love to get a Japanese perspective on this issue, so feel free to write whatever you like, but please bear two points in mind:

1) The shorter your comment, the more likely it is that people will read it.
2) Please do not write more than one comment per day.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか?」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ!

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Comments

  1. Naoko
    Commented on
    2014/02/11 at 8:24

    Hi, David and eveyone, it is nice to meet you. I found this blog very insightful. Japanese government now convinces the aged (and women) to keep working until they cannot work! After reading your post, I am wondering if polititians are trying to use this policy as excuse for their clinging onto the positons.

  2. Biwa
    Commented on
    2014/02/11 at 8:55

    Hi Naoko,

    Nice to have you with us.
    >I am wondering if polititians are trying to use this policy as excuse for their clinging onto the positons.
    -I like that!

    Hi everyone,

    One of the sixteen candidates was 35 who works for an IT company. I know nothing about his policies but he answered to a TV interview that he was mainly campaigning on the net so that he can involve more younger people in politics/polls. I felt like supporting him just for that idea. Anyway, every time there is a poll, the results make me feel that this country is run by old politicians who were chosen by older people. We definitely need more younger voice, don’t we?

  3. Animal Farm
    Commented on
    2014/02/11 at 2:09

    Hello David and everyone,

    How are you doing? It’s minus 9 degrees Celsius outside here in Pennsylvania. Parts of roads are frozen solid because of snow.

    By the way, one of the reasons why many Japanese leaders are older is that the number of voters increases with age.

    For example, there are fewer voters in their 20s than in their 60s. Therefore, the older people tend to choose older people. Politicians tend to favor people who vote for them.

    Hi Naoko, welcome! It’s nice to have you with us.

  4. taco
    Commented on
    2014/02/11 at 5:35

    > Perhaps more surprisingly, none of them can speak English, which seems strange when you consider that they are going to be in charge of a global event.

    Yes, indeed. It is really embarrassing to the world.

    I know I am biased, but I think old men tend to say something they should not, like racist and sexist remarks. Many of them don’t think they have to change themselves flexibly with the times. 80 year-old guy is a bit old in that way as a politician.

    See you,

    taco

  5. Fumie
    Commented on
    2014/02/11 at 9:02

    Hi David and everyone,

    The topic is what I have been thinking about.
    Though I couldn’t vote in the Tokyo governor election, if I could, I would not know which person were better, Mr. Masuzoe or Mr. Hosokawa. I agree with antinuclear policy but Mr. Hosokawa is too old. I’m skeptical whether he has enough physical strength to do such a tough job. Mr. Masuzoe still seems to have energy but he is pronuclear.
    Another problem is, as David pointed out, there should be certain retirement age for politicians like other occupations.

    Hi Naoko,

    Nice to have you with us!

  6. Tsuneko
    Commented on
    2014/02/11 at 11:34

    Hi David and everyone,

    I’ve never voted elder politicians in their 70′s or 80′s myself because I believe they should retire from those positions, however, they seem to be much more genki and far more fond of the jobs than younger people. Looking at my local town, people working for the society are in their 60′s or 70′s, and even in their 80′s. Of course, it doesn’t seem they like changes, but I don’t think I should complain them because I don’t want to take over their jobs right now.

    Hi Naoko,

    It’s nice to have you with us.

  7. Biwa
    Commented on
    2014/02/12 at 10:46

    Hi Animal Farm and everyone,

    >one of the reasons why many Japanese leaders are older is that the number of voters increases with age.

    I completely agree. I wonder if things are different in other countries. Are there more younger voters than in Japan?

    I might be wrong, but I’ve heard that in the US, everyone declares their own income and taxes themselves. However, in Japan, most people(so-called salary-men) have their companies automatically do those paperwork. If I’m right, it might be quite natural that people in the US(including younger people) are more interested in the system (and the unfairness!) of the society.

    Actually, I wasn’t interested in polls at all until I got married. To me, living on our own suddenly made everything become reality. I know I can’t really talk, but encouraging younger people to live on their own might be the fastest way to get them vote!

  8. Animal Farm
    Commented on
    2014/02/12 at 1:37

    Hi Biwa and everyone,

    >I wonder if things are different in other countries. Are there more younger voters than in Japan?

    I think it doesn’t mean the same thing happens in other countries. I think the voters don’t necessarily choose because of age, they choose who they think is the best candidate.

    Yes, people have to file their own taxes by themselves in the U.S., but I think it’s not necessarily connected to social responsibility. To answer this thing correctly, I might have to research about it.

    Hi Tsuneko,
    I think it’s different issues, complaining about them and taking their job. For example, I can’t drive a school bus, but if the driver drive unsafely, I think I can complain and criticize the driver.

    Please have a nice day!

  9. Anne
    Commented on
    2014/02/12 at 4:24

    Hi David and everyone,

    When I saw former PM Morihiro Hosokawa who was running for the governor of Tokyo on TV, I thought he should not have done that. He didn’t look energetic at all enough to contribute to Tokyo and looked pathetic. I think he made the wrong decision.
    There should be a retirement age for politicians, but I’m not sure what age is the good one for them.
    Anyway, one thing is for sure; only youth is the good reason for being useful politicians.
    Maybe 70? Too old?

    I went to Tokyo yesterday and visited three museums. I had a great day but was tired.

  10. Biwa
    Commented on
    2014/02/13 at 8:48

    Hi Animal Farm,

    >Yes, people have to file their own taxes by themselves in the U.S., but I think it’s not necessarily connected to social responsibility.

    Thanks for your reply.
    Sorry, perhaps my comment sounded too simple-minded. (lol!) I just thought so based on my own experience. When I was living with my parents, how much I earned or how much taxes I actually paid didn’t really matter to me. If I had had to file my own taxes myself, I think I would have been more serious about those things, and those things would have triggered me to think about politics/policies.

    Hi everyone,

    Mr. Masuzoe seems to have announced that he will do a big repair work on the Metropolitan Highways(首都高). I understand that it is a necessary project, but again, the construction companies are going to benefit first. It seems almost impossilble for politicians to escape from bonds with powerful groups. Even if I were young and talented, I don’t think I would like to enter this complicated political world.
    I’m glad to see lots of healthy energy of Japan’s youth in the Winter Olympics!

  11. Megumi
    Commented on
    2014/02/13 at 11:25

    Hi David, thank you very much for your feedback. I learn English very much from your feedback.

    Hi everyone, it’s very interesting to read your comments.

    I think there are many young pre-politicians in Japan. Most of them have been working as secretaries of old politicians or government officials and making skills and connections to become members of Congress. When Mr. Junichiro Koizumi was a Prime Minister, he insisted that all politicians should retire at the age of 73 to alter generations, and he drove 2 oldest 80s politicians, Mr. Miyazawa and Mr. Nakasone, into retirement. But I think the situation of Japanese government hasn’t changed.

  12. Tsuneko
    Commented on
    2014/02/13 at 11:45

    Hi Animal Farm

    Thanks for your comment. I’d realsized the disconnection to the topic in my comment after posting. Yes, you’re right, they are working for us using our money. I just don’t feel like complaining our elder neighbors who are doing a lot of small stuff without being paid.

  13. Tsuneko
    Commented on
    2014/02/13 at 12:32

    I think I should’ve used ‘elderly’ instead of ‘elder’.

  14. Naoko
    Commented on
    2014/02/14 at 8:20

    Hi everyone, thank you so much for the warm welcome.

  15. Mimi
    Commented on
    2014/02/14 at 10:05

    Hi David and everyone,

    Have any of you heard of Youhei Miyake?
    If you have, I would like to hear what you think about him.
    This topic reminds me of him.

    Hi Naoko,

    Nice to have you with us.