Tokyo politicians abandon post-quake disaster overalls
Japan’s venerable Kyodo news agency finally managed to get its teeth into some hard facts from the embattled government on Friday, when it revealed that the Prime Minister and most of his Cabinet have ditched their disaster jumpsuits and are now back in normal business attire.
The slightly lighthearted, albeit true, story -- there’s no concept of April Fooling around here in Japan -- may reflect criticism of Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s public appearances since the crisis began on March 11, always dressed in protective overalls.
Among others, comedian and director Beat Takeshi has publicly ridiculed the politicians for wearing their colored jumpsuits (called sagyougi in Japanese), even though they are far from the physical frontline of the cleanup efforts in Tohoku and Fukushima.
In their defense, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano explained that, “The Cabinet has to tackle work that it has to perform in solidarity with quake victims and people trying to bring the nuclear plant under control.”
Although Edano, Kan and the other heavyweights have now hung up the blue fatigues, Friday’s Cabinet meeting still saw at least three holdout members clinging on to their baby-blue acrylic duds.