Good morning, Netizens...
The Japanese economy is in the tank, and their representative to the G7 Summit in Rome, Italy should have been in his best form. Instead what world and Japanese leaders got was Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa apparently in his cups before a cast of world leaders.
Although Nakagawa denies vehemently that he was drunk on the job, countering that his rather bizarre behavior at the G7 Summit was caused by jet lag and cold medication, nobody seems to be buying his story, and yesterday he resigned his post. Pictures of the event show Nakagawa slurring his speech and at one point, nodding off into lala land while the unblinking eye of world opinion was fixed upon him.
Japan could hardly afford another political or economic misstep. Unemployment is climbing, consumer spending is falling, and companies are seeing deep red as the global financial crisis takes a particularly heavy toll on this export-reliant nation.
Last quarter, the economy shrank at its fastest pace in 35 years and is now in its worst downturn since the end of World War II. The key stock index has shed 44 percent of its value over the past year, and they do not have Bernie Madoff to blame.
Of course this incident has far-reaching implications for the Japanese Liberal Democrat party, that has held control of Japan's government for the last 54 years, if not Prime Minister Taro Aso, whose support ratings fell into the single digits in a recent poll. In fact, if you compare Aso's numbers with those of former President George W. Bush, Bush might actually win in the popularity contest.