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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 12:50 04/30/2008
News Review #443: April 30, 2008

Japan Government Vows to Press On After Election Blow

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan Government Vows to Press On After Election Blow
AFP (4/29/2008)


As reported in the AFP news linked above, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda seems to be determined to go ahead with reimposition of an unpopular road tax in spite of a defeat in the first parliamentary by-election since he became prime minister. This is somewhat surprising, because there has been a widespread belief in the public that the fate of the road tax would depend on the "people's voice" to be expressed in that by-election. So the question is why Mr. Fukuda and his party are so stubborn in defending the road tax, despite the fact that doing so is certainly damaging to him and his party in terms of popularity ratings.

One reason is the vested interest that is still dominant in the relationship among LDP politicians, bureaucrats and local businesspeople. Therefore, the party cannot ignore its constituencies in local regions, where the road tax is an important source of fiscal revenue. But probably a more direct reason for LDP politicians' stubborn attitude is that they still hold a two-thirds majority in the lower house, and thus can override any rejection of opposition parties in the upper house to their policy decisions.

Since Prime Minister Fukuda is fully aware of this fact, he is not going to call for a general election which might well deprive the LDP of such a majority in the lower house anytime soon. This means that the Japanese public will probably have to endure a prolonged period of political and economic chaos in months or even years to come.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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