August 30, 2011
Former Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko is the new prime minister of Japan. Noda is something of an anomaly: one of those self-deprecating politicians – he likens himself to a “loach,” a scavenger that is kin to the catfish – who commands respect for having a steady hand and even temperament. Some observers liken him to former Prime Minister Obuchi Keizo, a genial but bland politician who is perhaps best known for being said to have “all the pizzazz of cold pizza.” A steady hand is a good thing – and a marked departure from his immediate predecessors as PM – but it isn’t going to be enough. Remember Fukuda Yasuo? Japan needs vision and energy; a self-styled “man of mediocrity” isn’t likely to provide it.