Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

A Brother 子 for Dubya

Posted by Charles II on December 23, 2007

Hisane Masaki of Asia Times has an interesting piece about Yasuo Fukuda, the new LDP (right-wing corporate party of corruption) prime minister of Japan. Fukuda was born in the Year of the Rat (子):

While vowing to continue with the structural reform drive, Fukuda has repeatedly pledged to pay more attention to the issue of social inequalities such as between richer urban and poorer rural areas that were a factor in the LDP’s electoral drubbing in July. Critics refer to the issue as the negative legacy of Koizumi’s market-friendly reforms. On the day of his inauguration in late September, Fukuda himself called his team a ”do-or-die” cabinet. He also said at the time that his cabinet has “its back against the wall”. More specifically, “That is to say if [the cabinet] fails, the LDP will be ousted from power,” he said….

The election for the more powerful lower house of the Diet, Japan’s bicameral parliament, will be a moment of truth for the political fortunes of not only Fukuda, but also his LDP-led ruling coalition. It could trigger a drastic alteration of the nation’s political landscape through the formation of a ”grand coalition” between the LDP and the biggest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) or even through a major realignment of political parties. …

The LDP and New Komeito, a party backed by lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, will most likely lose a two-thirds majority in the lower house, which it gained by scoring a landslide victory in the last general election, held in September 2005 under the highly popular Koizumi.

If this happens, the Diet could come to a standstill and the nation’s policy-making could be paralyzed completely. [except that other corrupt factions will make sure it isn’t] …

As things stand, the election appears most likely to come sometime around next summer, after Japan hosts an annual summit of the Group of Eight (G8) major nations – the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and Japan – at the Lake Toya hot-spring resort in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in early July. …

The Fukuda cabinet’s declining approval rating is widely believed to reflect growing pubic outrage over the pension defense scandals. … The Social Insurance Agency, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, was found earlier this year to have some 50 million unidentified pension premium-payment records. This means many retirees could get short-changed.

2 Responses to “A Brother 子 for Dubya”

  1. It does sound like a parallel to the US, doesn’t it?

  2. Charles said

    Japan’s politics are much more opaque than that of the US. One often thinks that what goes on in government is an elaborate play having nothing to do with what is actually happening. Komeito has swung from being a leftwing party to a rightwing party. The Socialists, which wobble between Marxists and European-style Democratic socialists, have managed to elect exactly one prime minister. The LDP is always in power in some manner, but it is riven into multiple factions, each run by its own warlord.

    I had a conversation with a Japanese friend and remarked on how difficult it was to understand ordinary social intercourse in Japan. His reply was something to the effect of, “Hmmph! You think so, eh? At least you foreigners can askwhat’s going on.”

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