Mr. Eto, Mr. Tase and Mr. Uesugi on Prospects for Fukuda Administration
Takahiro MIYAO (Professor and Head, Japanese Institute of Global Communications, IUJ)
|FCCJ Political Wednesday:
|Date/Time:||October 3, 2007 (W) 18:30 - 20:30|
|Place:||Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan|
||18:30 - 19:00|
Speakers: Seishiro Etoh (LLDP Lower House Member), Yasuhiro Tase (Nikkei Columnist) and Takashi Uesugi (Freelance Journalist): "Opening Remarks"
19:00 - 20:30
|Organizer:|| Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (http://www.fccj.or.jp)|
On Wednesday, October 3, three experts on Japanese politics, Mr. Seishiro Etoh, Mr. Tasuhiro Tase and Mr. Takashi Uesugi, presented their views on future prospects for the Fukuda Administration. The choice of these three speakers was quite interesting, because Mr. Etoh, as an LDP member and a friend of Mr. Fukuda, is naturally supportive of the Fukuda Administration, Mr. Tase, as a critic of the LDP politics, is quite critical of Prime Minister Fukuda as well as former Prime Minister Abe, and Mr. Uesugi, author of a recent book "The Collapse of Kantei," casts his investigative eye on Mr. Fukuda as a seasoned politician.
First, Mr. Etoh expressed his wish that Prime Minister Fukuda would be able to offer a long-term stable administration for the nation, preferably for the full term of 4 years, but at least until the crucially important G8 Summit to be held in Japan next July. He also emphasized the importance of keeping promises with the international community, the general public as well as the coalition party, Komeito. In this regard, it was his hope that the Prime Minister Fukuda could somehow pass a new law to allow the Self-Defense Force to continue engaging in anti-terrorism activities in the Indian Ocean, with the support of the general public and also with the cooperation of the Ozawa Democratic Party through dialogue and debate in the Diet.
On the other hand, Mr. Tase bluntly said that although Mr. Fukuda seems popular, at least for now, among the voters who seek some temporary tranquility after rough political changes under the Koizumi-Abe administrations, the cold fact facing Mr. Fukuda is that the LDP cannot regain control of the Upper House for some time to come, and that means that no legislation but the main budget bill could pass through the Diet, forcing Prime Minister Fukuda to dissolve the Diet and call for general elections for the Lower House sooner or later. Then, the LDP is likely to lose its majority even in the Lower House, making Mr. Fukuda the last LDP prime minister.
Finally, Mr. Uesugi pointed out that Mr. Fukuda seems to have a very high pride, and does not have many friends among fellow politicians, but rather he looks more comfortable when surrounded by bureaucrats than by politicians or journalists. This may well affect his political style, as seen in his appointment of a pro-bureaucracy person as the Vice Cabinet Secretary, that is a key post in organizing all the ministries under the leadership of the Prime Minister's Office.
In the Q&A session, various questions were asked, from Mr. Fukuda's foreign policy to his personality. In answering each and every question, a sharp contract was obvious between Mr. Etoh, who had to support the official stance of the Prime Minster and the LDP, and Mr. Tase, who clearly was in favor of the Democratic Party as a realistic alternative to the LDP politics. However, there was one point that all the speakers agreed on, that is that the LDP would have to swallow whatever the Democratic Party proposes in the Diet altogether in order to avoid possible stalemates in Japanese politics. Overall, it was a very interesting and stimulating debate among the three well-informed experts who made their stance quite clear to the audience.
This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):