[Viewpoint] Congratulations to the Japanese

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[Viewpoint] Congratulations to the Japanese

My name is Bae Myung-bok and I am an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.

I would like to express my gratitude to Japanese voters.

I pay my respects to your mature and wise choice that made the first political power transfer in 54 years possible when you supported the Democratic Party of Japan in the Aug. 30 election.

As a result, Yukio Hatoyama became the 93rd prime minister of Japan.

I would like to thank the Japanese voters for choosing a politician with a philosophy as your prime minister.

Plato said that politics is the art of materializing ideas into reality, and those ideas come from philosophy.

Some 2,400 years ago, Plato emphasized rules for philosophers. A politician should have his or her own philosophy. Philosophy will lead to principles, and principles will bring out policies.

Having experienced so many politicians without a philosophy that are swayed by popular opinion, I’m so happy to hear that a politician with a philosophy became the prime minister in our neighboring country.

More importantly, I deeply agree with the philosophy of Hatoyama.

Before the election, he contributed a column titled “My Political Philosophy” to the monthly Japanese magazine “Voice,” and I was truly impressed by his words.

His thoughts were profound and balanced. I thought the Japanese were lucky to have a politician with such deep thoughts.

He explains his idea of “friendship” as a theory of self-reliance and coexistence.

“Each one of us is a unique being with infinitely diverse characteristics. Therefore, we all have the right to decide our own destiny and, at the same time, have the duty to take responsibility for the consequences of our decisions. In addition to the principle of self-reliance, I would like to value the theory of coexistence to mutually respect and understand the independence and heterogeneity of one another and to pursue and work for common ground.”

I completely agree with his idea.

How great would it be if we all admit, “You are you, I am me, so let’s get along?”

I am also grateful that the Japanese voters chose someone who has been involved in a fateful love.

As it is well known, Hatoyama met his wife while studying in the United States. She was four years older and was married to her previous husband.

Some people might think differently, but I believe that someone who has been in love sees the world differently than those who have not. If you stand in front of fate, you become humble.

Finally, I am thankful of your support for Hatoyama because I am a Korean. He is a politician who values his country’s relationship with Korea.

Last year was the 140th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, which launched the modernization of Japan. Kido Takayoshi, who was a core member of the restoration, insisted that Japan should attack Joseon to address the dissatisfaction of out-of-work samurai and accumulated social vices. Saigo Takamori supported the strategy to divert the internal discord to the outside in order to make the country prosper.

Some four decades later, Korea was annexed by Japan. The year 2010 marks the 100th year of that tragic event. It took 140 years for a politician who considers Korea as a partner in friendship to become prime minister.

Hatoyama is passionate about East Asian integration.

The two axes of East Asia he is dreaming of are Japan and China. But he sees that the East Asian community can be successful only when Korea plays the role of connecting the two axes. Therefore, cooperation among Korea, Japan and China is the core engine of the East Asian community.

I would like to propose that newly inaugurated Prime Minister Hatoyama establish a permanent consultative body for the three countries in Korea and develop it into an executive office.

If he truly cares about Korea and hopes to achieve integration of East Asia, he has no reason to oppose such an idea. The perfect site could be Incheon.

I understand that Prime Minister Hatoyama is garnering as much concern as anticipation.

Some are skeptical that a blue-blooded politician with no bitter past can understand the harshness of reality.

However, history has proven that revolutionary changes are more likely to be brought about by a rich idealist than by a hungry realist.

The “limousine liberal” or the “caviar left” are the affluent groups that led or supported liberalism in the United States and Europe.

Please give your full support for Prime Minister Hatoyama. It will change Japan and transform East Asia.

I wish good luck to all the Japanese citizens.

*The writer is an editorial writer and traveling correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Bae Myung-bok
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