The Modern Tokyo Times

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Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Ichiro Ozawa and the political merry-go-round

Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Ichiro Ozawa and the political merry-go-round

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Political merry go round in Japan
Political merry go round in Japan

 Japanese politics is a wonderland of revolving prime ministers and a deep rooted desire to oust political leaders because of petty infighting and factional fighting.  Indeed, the country of Japan appears to be not only politically naïve but further more they don’t seem to care about international opinion or the standing of Japan in the international arena.

Therefore, not surprisingly, the knives are out for PM Naoto Kan, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ); and being Japan then the knives are out for him from within the DPJ and the main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

After the last national election in Japan, Professor Jeffery Kingston, Tokyo Temple University, commented that “A lot of people think that (the election) was a diversion from the real problems” and “All of this sort of political maneuvering looks to the Japanese people, and probably to the rest of the world, like reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Knowing the reality of Japanese politics then true to form the usual resignation calls are being demanded and PM Kan is being lambasted by powerful people within the DPJ and from the main opposition party, the LDP.

It must be mentioned that the political merry-go-round even applies to major political leaders turning against their former political affiliation.  Therefore, the DPJ bigwig, Ichiro Ozawa, once was a fully fledged member of the LDP but then he left and belonged to several different political parties but lastly he moved to the DPJ.

The international community is clearly behind Japan because of the terrible loss of life after the earthquake unleashed a brutal and potent tsunami which swept away everything in its path. 

Also, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis means that you have genuine sympathy throughout the international community. 

Alas, media scenes of strong community bonds and a sense of the “Dunkirk spirit” do not belong to the political scene.  Instead, it is resignation time and sadly many Japanese people appear to be jumping on the bandwagon because the Asahi Shimbum reported that 67 per cent of respondents are displeased with PM Kan and similar findings have been expressed in the Mainichi Shimbun.

Yet, if people and politicians turned the clock back then it is apparent that a lot of hypocrisy is being handed out and the electorate must have missed twenty years of minor economic growth to periods of stagnation.

Sadakuza Tanigaki, president of the LDP, did manage to refrain from asking PM Kan to resign for several weeks and Ichiro Ozawa also remained quiet.  However, true to form Tanigaki is now putting pressure on PM Kan to resign and the usual “political cockroach,” Ichiro Ozawa, is also lambasting the prime minister despite belonging to the same political party.

Tokyo must be a chamber of political deceit where factions squabble over petty issues and plot the downfall of another prime minister.

Of course, Sadakuza Tanigaki and Ichiro Ozawa will keep quiet about the strong links between the LDP and TEPCO. Ichiro Ozawa can point to the fact that his links are more distant and he no longer belongs to the LDP but clearly he was part and parcel of a political party which had deep links to TEPCO.

However, for Sadakazu Tanigaki the situation of close ties with TEPCO is more problematic and this applies to political donations in recent years.  Therefore, while the president of the LDP is lambasting PM Kan and blaming him for the current ills, he clearly is neglecting to focus on the “convenient” relationship between the LDP and TEPCO.

Sadakuza Tanigaki stated that “The time has come for (Kan) to decide whether he stays or not…It would be extremely sorrowful if Kan stayed.”

Ichiro Ozawa, of course, also rebuked PM Kan because he stated that “No signs of Prime Minister Kan’s leadership are seen in the measures that the irresponsible administration is taking, and the damage from the disaster may spread further.”

For international readers who may not understand Ichiro Ozawa, then yes, he does belong to the same ruling DPJ and he is putting enormous pressure on the leader of the DPJ. Not only this, Ichiro Ozawa is clearly ridiculing the administration and this implies that he does not trust many members of the DPJ.

This begs the question why he doesn’t resign from the DPJ or why he isn’t forced out of the DPJ.  Surely, it is clear to PM Kan that this powerful bigwig within his own political party desires power and to create instability within the DPJ.

It could well be that PM Kan is thinking about the long-term future of the DPJ because he knows full well that Ichiro Ozawa cares little about this political organization.  Therefore, PM Kan must be thinking about preventing a political split because the past record of Ichiro Ozawa is one of backstabbing and destroying political movements.

Sadakuza Tanigaki should also focus on the 20 million yen in donations given to the LDP from TEPCO between 2007 and 2010.  Not only this, but clearly the link between TEPCO and the LDP runs deep and the amakudari system was milked for decades.

These donations will be the tip of the iceberg because many individual donations will have been given and the amount will add up.  Never mind, this will still not stop Sadakuza Tanigaki complaining.

Oh well, it was too much to ask for a two or three month period of no backstabbing.  Yes, welcome to the political merry-go-round where the knives in important chambers in Tokyo are being sharpened. 

Not even an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis, and the loss of life of around 28,000 people, could keep political unity or a sense of dignity.

Resignation, resignation, resignation! (please visit)

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