The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

Seiji Maehara: from resigning 6 months earlier to possible next leader of Japan

Seiji Maehara: from resigning 6 months earlier to possible next leader of Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If you are outside of Japan then the political landscape is so strange because leaders of this nation don’t have appetites to stay around for the duration.  Therefore, a new leader will shortly emerge in Japan but if the pattern of old continues then within a few months his or her ratings will fall by the wayside.

It is reported that Seiji Maehara is a front-runner and that he stands a good chance of becoming the next leader of Japan.  This may or may not happen because politics in Japan is very fragile and the past may come back to haunt him. After all, he only resigned six months ago and in most highly advanced political systems he would stand no chance because of the closeness to his last resignation.

Also, since the tragic events of March 11 the profile of Seiji Maehara left the media circus and he remained distant from policy makers. Therefore, his resignation six months ago and being distant from recent policy decisions should be a negative when it comes to being selected by members within the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

However, in Japan nothing is clear cut apart from the joy of forcing leading political figures to resign. If we take this logic at first hand it would seem bizarre that Seiji Maehara would even run and surely the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will pounce on his last resignation.

Seiji Maehara while remaining outside of administration circles in the last six months can hardly play the card that he was distant from the current Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, because he was the Foreign Minister under him.  However, some people are stating that he seems outside the current administration which is hated but this is misleading because he had a very high ranking position under Naoto Kan.

It is still unclear who will be selected internally within the DPJ but the LDP will believe that Seiji Maehara is fair game if he is selected and clearly one single mistake will make him yet another lame duck leader.  If his resignation had happened a few years before and he had re-entered the highest ranks of power then his candidacy would make sense.

However, if he is selected after being forced to resign six months earlier then surely the LDP will be thinking that their time is near again.  The strangeness of politics in Japan is unique within the leading industrial nations but because of this he may be selected. 

This, however, points to rashness within the political system and surely the entire system needs changing in order for Japan to become a mature political nation based on solid periods of power once being elected.

Seiji Maehara may or he may not be the best person to take over the leadership of Japan but this should not be the issue.  The issue should be based on his resignation only six months earlier and how this puts the leading office in Japan into a bad light.

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