Tanaka Dismissal: Not Only Gender
Daniel Dolan (Director, Global Communication Strategy, Weber Shandwick Worldwide)
This comment originally appeared in the "Japan-U.S. Discussion Forum" (http://lists.nbr.org/japanforum) on February 5, 2002: posted here with the author's permission.
The firing of Tanaka might be seen in the context of gender issues in Japan, but a few Japanese women I surveyed informally were more interested in their hopes that Tanaka might have shaken up the machinery of LDP politics. Much is made of Koizumi's straight talking and fresh manner, but how much progress has he made in his reform efforts? Tanaka was on an entirely different level of "different", and if given more time probably would have forced through changes in a system badly in need of some. Absent the NGO fiasco, the degree to which her colleagues and the public could have put up with the pain and confusion caused in the process is a question that cannot be answered.