" Japan’s Andy Warhol politics"可不是“旋转门” 這可能是誤譯
政坛“旋转门”害惨日本 The perils of Japan’s Andy Warhol politics
Andy Warhol predicted that in the future everybody would be famous for 15 minutes. The Japanese are perfecting an even more egalitarian system under which everybody gets to spend 15 minutes as prime minister. Admittedly, it is still a work in progress. Naoto Kan has already clung on to the premiership for an unseemly three months. But with a little luck Ichiro Ozawa will defeat him in party elections later this month, edging Japan ever closer towards its 15-minute target.
安迪·沃霍尔(Andy Warhol)曾预言说，未来每个人都能成名15分钟。而日本实行一种更加平均主义的体制——每个人都能做15分钟首相。需要承认的是，这个体制尚在日臻 完善的过程中。菅直人(Naoto Kan)已经不体面地在首相的位置上恋栈了3个月，但在本月中旬的党内选举中，小泽一郎(Ichiro Ozawa)只要稍有运气就能击败菅直人，把日本朝向15分钟的目标再推进一步。
To be serious for a moment, in the two decades since the bubble burst, Japan has had no fewer than 14 prime ministers, twice the number that Italy managed over the same period. Since Junichiro Koizumi quit in 2006, Japanese leaders have averaged fewer than 12 months in office apiece. Far from stabilising the situation, the Democratic Party of Japan, which took over a year ago, has put the cycle into an even faster spin. If Mr Ozawa wins on September 14, he will be Japan’s third prime minister in 12 months.
言归正传，泡沫破灭以来的20年中，日本已经有过不下14位首相，是意大利同一段时间 内总理数量的两倍。小泉纯一郎(Junichiro Koizumi)2006年下台以来，日本领导人平均在任时间不足12个月。日本民主党(Democratic Party of Japan)去年上台以来，不仅远未稳定局面，反而加速了恶性循环。如果小泽9月14日获胜，他将成为日本12个月以来的第三位首相。
This Andy Warhol-style politics is hurting Japan in several ways. First, it is deeply unsettling for a population that has been told insistently that politicians are finally wresting power from Japan’s long-powerful bureaucrats. That was one of the themes of Mr Koizumi’s government. It is also an express aim of the Democratic party, which seeks to portray itself as a modern organisation responsive to public will. The public is entitled to ask: “Why on earth would we want these idiots in charge?”
这种安迪·沃霍尔风格的政治局面对日本造成了多方面的损害。首先，这种局面让国民极度 不安。一直以来，政客们都在向国民宣称，自己要从势力顽固的官僚体系手中夺回权力，这曾是小泉政府的主题之一，也是民主党的明确目标，民主党试图将自己描 绘成积极响应公众意志的现代组织。公众有权追问：“我们为什么要让这帮混蛋掌权？”
In theory, having elected politicians wrest power from the bureaucratic shadows ought to be a good thing. It would mark a break with the postwar system in which the public voted for a party (the Liberal Democrats) that cooked up policy behind closed doors. But in practice, politicians – because of infighting or allegations of corruption – are not around enough to enact a coherent agenda.
With each prime minister comes a new direction. The Democratic party was elected a year ago on a “go-for-growth” platform of tax breaks and payments to households with children. However, when Mr Kan took over three months ago, he changed tack entirely. Instead, he decided that Japan must do something about its mountainous public debt. He scaled back spending promises and proposed doubling consumption tax to 10 per cent. If Mr Ozawa wins, he is likely to reverse the policy again. All this leaves the poor public with whiplash. Neither individuals nor businesses can sensibly plan their future, a state of affairs hardly conducive to encouraging the consumption or investment the country needs.
每一位首相都会带来新的政策方向。去年民主党当选，凭借的是“促进增长”的施政纲领， 包括减税并向有孩子的家庭提供补贴。然而菅直人3个月前接手时却完全改变了方针，他认为日本必须对堆积如山的公共债务采取措施。他压缩了支出承诺，还提议 将消费税翻倍，调高至10%。如果小泽胜出，政策可能还会再次逆转。这只能让可怜的公众无所适从。无论个人还是企业都无法明智地规划未来，这种局面很难促 进日本所需的消费或投资。
Second, permanent political revolution (in the washing machine, spin-cycle sense of the word) has an impact on other areas. Politicians are in danger of ceding control to the very bureaucrats they aspire to rein in. The Bank of Japan, for example, is arguably freer today to exercise policy independently than it has been in years. The Democratic party has been pressing it to ease monetary policy further or adopt more unconventional measures to tackle deflation. But the bank can simply shrug its shoulders and wait for the next premier to come along. This week it took what many economists consider to be token measures to kickstart economic activity (although the bank insists it is being aggressive by flattening the yield curve). One senior Japanese official likens the central bank to GHQ, a reference to General Douglas MacArthur’s postwar administration, which did pretty much what it liked.
其次，永久性的政坛“旋转门”还有其他方面的影响。政客正面临着把控制权退让给本欲降 服的官僚体系的危险，例如，与以往很多年相比，日本央行(Bank of Japan)如今可以说能够更加自由地独立执行政策。民主党一直在向央行施压，要求其放松货币政策，或采取更多非常规措施对付通缩。但是央行大可以耸耸 肩，等待下一任首相上台。最近，日本央行采取了被许多经济学家视为象征性的举措来刺激经济活动（尽管日本央行坚称，其通过把收益率压平，正在果敢作为）。 一位日本高官把央行比作驻日盟军最高司令官总司令部(GHQ)，这个由道格拉斯·麦克阿瑟将军(General Douglas MacArthur)领导的战后行政机关，基本上可以为所欲为。
Third, political turmoil is affecting Japan’s international image. Japanese leaders must be among the more anonymous on the world stage. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, floundered as he tried to recall the name of Japan’s last-but one prime minister. (Answer: Yukio Hatoyama.) “You say ‘good morning’ to one prime minister and ‘good afternoon’ to a different one,” was how he put it.
第三，政治动荡正在影响日本的国际形象。日本领导人在世界舞台上肯定是最不知名的一 批，巴西总统路易斯•伊纳西奥•卢拉•达•席尔瓦(Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva)努力回想日本上任首相的名字，却怎么也想不起来。答案：鸠山由纪夫(Yukio Hatoyama)。）他这样讲述：“你对一位首相说‘早上好’，对另一位首相说‘下午好’。”
The continual change of leadership has frustrated even close allies. Washington has been trying – and failing – to get an agreement with Tokyo about moving military bases on the southern island of Okinawa. With each new prime minister, the two sides slide back to square one. The tussle has been going on for more than a decade. Only last year, Tokyo lobbied Washington intensely to get then prime minister Taro Aso invited as the first foreign leader to meet Barack Obama. The meeting duly took place, but Mr Aso was gone within a few months, leaving many Washington insiders wondering what it had all been for.
即使是紧密盟友也对日本领导人的持续变动感到沮丧。华盛顿不断尝试与东京就搬迁冲绳 （日本的南方岛屿）军事基地的问题达成共识，但屡屡受挫。每当新首相上台，双方就会回到起点，这场拉锯战已经持续了超过十年。就在去年，东京积极游说华盛 顿，目的是让麻生太郎(Taro Aso)成为巴拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)会见的首位外国首脑。二人如期会面，但几个月后麻生太郎就下台了，让华盛顿许多圈内人士纳闷这一切有什么意义。
The situation is so dire that Japan – still one of the most prosperous and technologically advanced economies in the world – is now routinely underestimated. That goes not only for its international image. Perhaps more alarmingly, many of its own people seem resigned to being second best. A loss of confidence in leadership can be extremely debilitating. Countries need a sense of direction. Japan’s politicians are merely going round in circles.
日本仍是世界上最富裕、科技最发达的经济体之一，然而在这种严峻的情况下，该国现在经 常遭到低估。这不只是国际形象的问题，也许更值得警惕的是，很多日本人对屈居第二似乎已习以为常。对领导层失去信心可能是极其令人丧气的。国家需要方向 感，而日本政客只是在兜圈子。