Tokyo Notes

Kan Looks for Poll Gloom Cure

Naoto Kan takes up blogging in hopes of boosting his DPJ government’s sagging poll ratings.

Looking to boost his approval ratings by reaching out directly to the people, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has started a new blog.

In a world of Twittering politicians, a blog seems almost cumbersome by comparison and hardly gives the impression of a man on the cutting edge of social networking technology. Even Kan’s predecessor Yukio Hatoyama managed the occasional cryptic tweet.

Still, there’s something very earnest about Kan, and that comes across on his new site, Kan-Full Blog. In the Kan-Full TV section, we can see video clips of him facing the camera and talking in very straightforward terms about his activities and the issues he’s trying to tackle. Colourful explanatory boxes make abundantly clear each point.

In the second clip in this section we see him on a plane heading back from the G-20 summit in Seoul. He explains he’s going straight to Yokohama for the APEC forum and makes some brief comments about the prospects of achieving growth through free trade in the Asia-Pacific region. His face is a picture of exhaustion, but he somehow manages to put on a patient smile for the camera…

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The title of the blog is a play on words, suggesting that the site offers the nation both ‘Kan in full’ and ‘a shot in the arm’ (more literally, a ‘dose of camphor’). With the approval rating of his cabinet slumping to 27 percent in an Asahi Shimbun opinion poll this week, it may be Kan himself who is most in need of the medicine.