Several of us have been talking about a revolution in Japan recently and I've been interviewing many people about their thoughts on the need, the possibility and the correct process.
I think it is clear that it will take something on a revolutionary scale to change the Japanese system enough to make it a functioning democracy. This revolution probably does not involve violence. This revolution will require the people to want change so much that they become actively involved in trying to cause change.
Most people still have jobs and are generally happy. Most people believe that they cannot cause change. And in fact, there is no easy mechanism for the people to cause change.
Several people have suggested that a revolution won't happen until we have a true economic meltdown -- maybe in a few years.
I had several people over to my house yesterday including people from the press, IT industry, financial industry and non-profits ranging from someone in their 20's to people in their 60's. It was my own little deliberative democracy representing a variety of views. Anyway, we talked a lot about revolution. The older participants remembered the student uprisings in the 60's and 70's in Japan and described how they started and were eventually stomped out by the riot police. I talked about how blogs could encourage activism and they described that the way the students got "activated" was similar. We decided that the environment which caused the student uprisings does not exist today and the establishment and its ability thwart such an attempt is much stronger.
So, we decided that we focus not on politics or revolution for the moment, but on "truth." We will focus on having meetings and creating tools to help people in pursuit of "the truth." We talked about many things that we thought people should know and analysis that should be conducted and the members from the media explained that more than any malicious intent, it was the lack of incentive and will for them to spend the energy to do this that kept these sort of things from being reported. Someone mentioned that "the truth" is subjective. Yes. It is. But I think it is much easier to argue for the necessity of knowing the truth than arguing for democracy (a concept that I am find is actually quite alien to many Japanese) or the overthrow of the establishment. I think that blogging, polling and other tools that help us find out what the people think and expose and analyze what those in power are doing will help people become aware and active. That's the first step. We decided to continue to have regular meetings to talk about how to collect facts and highlight important truths.