Mr. Yasuo Fukuda vs. Mr. Taro Aso at FCCJ: LDP Presidential Candidates
Takahiro MIYAO (Professor and Head, Japanese Institute of Global Communications, IUJ)
|FCCJ Professional Luncheon:
|Date/Time:||September 19, 2007 (M) 13:00 - 14:10|
|Place:||Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan|
||13:00 - 13:30|
Speaker: Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso (Liberal Democratic Party Presidential Candidates) "Opening Remarks"
13:30 - 14:10
|Organizer:|| Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (http://www.fccj.or.jp)|
As LDP Presidential Candidates, Mr. Fukuda and Mr. Aso took time to hold a press conference in front of a large group of foreign as well as domestic journalists at FCCJ on Wednesday, September 19. The room was jam packed with many reporters standing throughout the conference.
At first, the both candidates made some opening remarks, where clear differences became already apparent. Mr. Fukuda give a six-minute introductory remark in Japanese, mentioning only general issues such as Japan's role in the international community, whereas Mr. Aso spent twice as much, about twelve minutes, delivering his prepared speech in English to cover his achievements as former foreign minister as well as his policy agenda for the future in a somewhat more concrete terms than Mr. Fukuda.
Throughout the conference, Mr. Fukuda offered his overall, rather abstract views, often referring to long-term problems such as aging, world peace and environmental issues, which might be appealing to the public's common sense. But, his failure of providing specific policy agenda seemed to annoy some journalists. In contrast, Mr. Aso was so eager to mention specific policy measures which he was involved in adopting or proposing in the past that no one was certain whether and how much his basic stance differs from Mr. Fukuda's.
Probably the most obvious difference between the two candidates was about their views on political leadership. Mr. Fukuda took a low-key approach to this issue by saying that leadership is not something you can exercise by yourself, especially these days, and he would wait to see until political and social circumstances allow him to lead. On the other hand, Mr. Aso sounded much more aggressive by saying that Japan, facing a crisis situation now, needs a strong leader and he could exercise his leadership in dealing with the current crisis, as he has been trying to do under the Abe administration.
In other words, it looked as if Mr. Fukuda were a seasoned diplomat, trying to control the situation from above, whereas Mr. Aso were an aggressive warrior, eager to fight in the battlefield. However, many of the journalists attending the conference may have felt like they would rather be elsewhere, preferably interviewing opposition party leader, Ichiro Ozawa, whom at least some of them consider to become prime minister sooner or later.