Fukuda Rewards Key Supporters
Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO
Fukuda Rewards Key Supporters: Top Posts in LDP Go To Faction Leaders
The Japan Times (9/25/2007)
Fukuda Fills Key Posts in Japan's Liberal Democratic Party
International Herald Tribune (9/24/2007)
Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, new LDP president, picked four veteran politicians for the party's top posts in preparation for the Lower House election, which is most likely to take place within the next six months or so. Those four heavyweight politicians, Mr. Ibuki for the Party Secretary General, Mr. Tanigaki for the Policy Research Council Chairman, Mr. Nikai for the General Council Chairman and Mr. Koga for the Election Strategy Committee Chairman, are all heads of faction leaders that supported Mr. Fukuda in the LDP presidential race. Therefore, there is some criticism that the Fukuda administration may be reverting to the traditional faction-based politics, which has been considered "dead" under the reform-minded Koizumi-Abe administrations. The Japan Times article (see the link above) reflects this wide-spread sentiment among those who are critical of the LDP in general and Mr. Fukuda in particular.
On the other hand, Mr. Fukuda himself already responded to this criticism by saying that "I chose the four, because they were the right people for the positions." It seems that the foreign press generally accepts this explanation, and emphasizes the fact that those four leaders are "dovish," implying that they share a moderate stance with Mr. Fukuda regarding domestic reform as well as foreign policy agenda, rather than criticizing the old factional politics that Mr. Fukuda might try to restore (for example, see the International Herald Tribune article in the Reference above).
At any rate, Mr. Fukuda's intention is quite clear in that he tries to rebuild his party by consolidating all the powers, whether new or old, that are still remaining within the party in order to compete and deal with seemingly invincible Ichiro Ozawa, Democratic Party leader, in the Diet and in the next Lower House election. In this respect, Mr. Fukuda seems to be doing his best, based on his political instinct and experience. But the question remains whether his best is good enough to save the LDP and whether his way of doing things will alienate Japanese voters after all.
This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):