Swine flu has swept into Fukuoka (brought by a foreigner, of course). Meanwhile, seismic shockwaves are echoing out of North Korea and the economy worldwide continues to crumble. The popularity of Japan's prime minister wanes endlessly, and the opposition leader, offering little reform in the first place, has fumbled, resigned, and been replaced by someone of equally unimpressive stuffing. By November a general election will be held, promising to replace one sack of bricks with another. (1)
As if scripted by this worldwide dark comedy, a 63 year old man in China approached a young chap contemplating suicide on a bridge. The old man shook his hand and gingerly pushed him over the edge, greeting the crowd of onlookers with a salute. These are fast times in Asia-Pacific.
(1)A quick survey of the Japanese around me yields little interest, let alone enthusiasm or unrest for the political stagnation. The PM is elected by officials elected by other officials who are, they themselves elected by local populations. Since the top of the government is several levels away from common control, people have no sense of control over what happens on a national level, and seem to care little about which laws are passed or the prospect of reform.