In the U.S., all eyes are on the Presidential Election and the financial crisis, while Japan is in a bit of political turmoil in this messy world as well.
I was comparing various new search engines and Internet databases yesterday, and found out that lots of search result do not show that Taro Aso is the current Prime Minister of Japan. Yes, Wikipedia is updated, but some minor ones don't reflect the "recent" changes yet. He became the PM on Sep. 24, about 2 weeks ago.
Who cares about "PM of the day" in Japan? Really, the two previous PMs have resigned in less than 1 year. No time to memorize the names.
And many in Japanese major media predict that he will be the third "PM of the day" in a row, given the current stalemate in opposition-controlled upper house, and that the general election of the lower house will be called soon, with the ruling LDP likely to lose.
But I was surprised at the overwhelmingly POSITIVE reaction of the Internet people towards his inaugural speech in the lower house, as well as his speech in the United Nations just before that (both can be seen on YouTube and NicoNico Douga).
Unlike what is said about him in the New York Times editorial on the day of his UN speech, back home, he is much better known for his favor of Manga (Japanese comic books) and Internet, while his colleagues in the same age group often despise both. So many Akihabara-goers have enthusiastically supported him for some time, nicknaming him "Rosen Aso" (taking from a character's name in his favorite manga).
I thought it was about rather small number of people, but the amount and kinds of positive reaction from the broader Internet community, including NicoNico comments and Hatena bookmarks (Japanese version of Digg), really struck me.
I remember seeing this type of political tempreture on the net before the election in 2005, where then-PM Junichiro Koizumi achieved a landslide victory, despite of the negative prediction of major media.
There, I was impressed about the huge gap between the traditional media and Internet in Japan, and am wondering if this time around, the same thing may or may not happen.
Some say such enthusiasm towards Aso will die down soon, faced by the severe reality of late.
I don't make any bets, but am curiously watching how the Net tempreture changes over the next couple of months or so.