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    Ring in the new!

    The Nikkei has this wry little look at what the last day of work in 2007 was like in Kasumigaseki:

    2007: a year in which issues from food frauds to the leakage of public pension records and corruption scandals revolving around the defense administration attracted attention. On 28 December, the last business day of the year, federal ministries and agencies in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo, and elsewhere welcomed the end of a year spent frantically dealing with all kinds of problems and moving offices. While an air of relief at long last has spread over the place, workers with harried expressions could be overheard muttering, “Let’s hope next year, at least, is quiet.”

    There’s the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, shaken by the need to respond to revelation after revelation of fraudulent food packaging and with its minister’s suicide and the subsequent dramatic changing of the guard.

    Of course, there are plenty more scandals to incorporate into our splashy year-in-review segments: the court battle over damages for hepatitis C infectees (initiated by the old ones, not the most recent ones…or the old ones we’re just recently finding out about, of course–keep them straight!) possibly most prominent among them. But there’s also the latest textbook scandal (over how to present the role of the Japanese armed forces in mass suicides among Okinawan civilians during the Battle of Okinawa). And, uh, Prime Minister Abe, you know, resigned.

    And the Ministry of Defense still isn’t sure how it’s going to defend us against extraterrestrials.

    Any surprise everyone’s looking forward to next year? Can’t hardly wait.

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