Conservative Yasuo Tanaka (But not in Nagoya)

Japanese City Finds It’s Hip to Be Uncool: Years of Fiscal Conservatism Pay Off as Now-Trendy Nagoya Area Booms,” by Athony Faiola, Washington Post, 30 March 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11075-2005Mar29.html (from Riding Sun).

I first heard of Yasuo Tanaka from the book Japan Unbound. He came across as an unconvential but serious politician trying to turn around Nagano from its disasterous history of poor spending.

It looks like his home prefecture is doing well because of his fiscal conservatism

But the sophisticates in Tokyo and Osaka aren’t laughing anymore. In a nation still struggling to find its footing after a 13-year economic slump, Nagoya is riding high as Japan’s city of the moment. With an economic growth rate of 2.8 percent, greater Nagoya — home to 7.2 million people and some of Japan’s most successful companies, most notably Toyota Motor Corp. — is sizzling along at more than double the national average. The region boasts an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, markedly lower than the national rate of 4.7 percent, according to government statistics.

“Nagoya is doing better than the rest of Japan today because of a local culture of not being wasteful or risky,” said Shinobu Iguchi, senior economist at the city’s Kyoritsu Research Institute. “The rest of Japan made fun of that aspect of Nagoyans in the past, but the success in the region now speaks for itself.”

But analysts also cite Nagoya’s reputation for being stingy. In the past eight years, the city has trimmed 13 percent of its workforce, or 3,648 jobs, deemed part of a bloated government bureaucracy.

Especially considering that JU profiled him as the left’s answer to Shintaro Ishihara, it’s all the better. Let’s hope the Japanese Right can do for Nihon what the American Right did for the United States since the early ’80s.

Update: Gaijinbiker updates his original post

And I previously misidentified Yasuo Tanaka as the mayor of Nagoya, when in fact he is governor of Nagano prefecture. (The reference has been removed.) I’ve always had a problem with Japan’s “N-G” place names — once I bought an expensive Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Nagoya, instead of Niigata.

There’s a lot to be said for blogs. Refusal to admit that he was wrong cost Dan Rather his job. My local newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, constantly publishes inaccuracies and half-truths without correcting them. And not necessarily political ones, but basic facts of business, economics, and even sports. I suspect most of the main-stream media is like that.

Meanwhile, Riding Sun spots a goof, corrects it, and passes the word along. That’s the way media should work. That’s the way that the better blogs do work. That’s the way Riding Sun does work.

One thought on “Conservative Yasuo Tanaka (But not in Nagoya)”

  1. I screwed up. Yasuo Tanaka is indeed famous for his fiscally conservative stance on public-works projects, but he is the governor of Nagano prefecture, not the mayor of Nagoya.

    Mea culpa and sorry for the inconvenience.

    I have fixed the mistake on my blog; I hope you will be so kind as to do so here, too.

  2. You correctly placed Tanaka-san in Nagano, but Nagoya is in Aichi, not Nagano. So it's not in Tanaka-san's “home prefecture.”

    Again, sorry for the goof.

    The upside is, Tanaka-san in Nagano, and the Nagoya city gov't in Aichi, can be seen as two separate examples of Japan fighting excessive government spending.

  3. Thanks for running the correction.

    To give your pro-blogging point even more support, I should point out that the error was first brought to my attention by a blog commenter over at Japundit. Just another example of the blogosphere in action.

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