Byline: Takehiko Kambayashi, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
TOKYO - It has been nearly two years since Minoru Morita, one of Japan's most requested TV commentators, vanished from the screen.
When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington late last month, Japanese journalists looked to many analysts, who seemed to agree tacitly not to criticize Mr. Abe despite his weak leadership. But once again, Mr. Morita, chairman of Morita Research Institute Co. Ltd., was bucking the tide.
Clad in a kimono, Mr. Morita used to appear daily on a morning news program of Fuji Television, giving viewers his interpretation of actions and events in Nagata-cho, the heart of Japanese politics, with quotations and proverbs. His style helped the program become one of the country's most-watched, and his name became a household word.
Mr. Morita says his criticism of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi cost him his well-paying TV job as major news outlets shunned him. Others in the business agree.
Even when Mr. Koizumi basked in an unprecedented degree of public support with approval ratings above 80 percent, Mr. Morita remained one of a dwindling number of commentators who took a …