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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 10:44 09/08/2008
News Review #462: September 8, 2008

Why Japan's Rulers Still Can't Deal With a Loyal Opposition

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Why Japan's Rulers Still Can't Deal With a Loyal Opposition
Newsweek (9/15/2008 Issue)


It is interesting to find a good explanation in the current issue of Newsweek why Mr. Yasuo Fukuda as well as Mr. Shinzo Abe could not handle the strong opposition of the Ozawa Democratic Party, resulting in their abrupt resignation as prime minister. According to the article linked above, the main reason seems to be the successful experience that "many old warhorses of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)" including the second and third generations of them have had in dealing with relatively weak oppositions in the Diet for more than half a century. Now that they are facing a genuine opposition without having a majority in both houses, LDP leaders cannot adjust themselves to handle the political reality effectively.

This explanation, if it is correct, should have a serious implication on such candidates for next prime minister as Mr. Taro Aso and Mr. Kaoru Yosano, who are among the typical "old warhorses of the LDP." Once either of them is selected as new prime minister, the popularity rating should go up, based on public expectations as usual. However, it might well shrink quickly unless the political reality in the Diet fundamentally changes. For this reason, it is said that general elections are likely to be called right after the selection of the new prime minister. Needless to say, that would not change anything, but rather prolong the current political chaos, probably including frequent changes in premiership, into the future.

To avoid this kind of uncontrollable chaos, a new generation of political leaders, not the old guards, are needed to hasten reshuffling and reorganization of political parties, resulting in formation of new coalitions based on political beliefs and policy orientation in Japan.

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

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