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Thread: Japan's interesting new Prime Minister

  1. #26
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrowhawk View Post
    Koike Yuriko seems to be a possible choice for the head of the LDP.
    Actually I don't think Koike is that plausible of a selection. She doesn't have the requisite support in the her own faction, never mind the party, and Koizumi's standing in the LDP may actually work against her. For several reasons, but in a nutshell being seen as a good opportunist for advancing to hugely important top cabinet positions without putting in the due number of elections as a legislator. Making some really boneheaded calls once up there didn't help either.


    But again what worries me is her approach to the Yasukuni issue.
    True, she is aligned with the younger generation wave of nationalist ideologues in the LDP. A group that also VERY importantly favors Western-style fiscal reforms, deficit reduction through smaller government and tax reform -- which is where my support for her derives. She's also got vast international experience, particularly in the Middle East (having lived in the region as a fluent speaker of Arabic). Although as I said, Koike's meteoric rise in the LDP hierarchy, leaping around from party to party, blowing through various factions, alliances, etc has probably made too many enemies to be considered the front-runner at this point. Who is, of course, is a very good question. Yosano? Ishihara ? Ishiba ? Maybe that's why Aso wasn't replaced in the run up to this election.

  2. #27
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    My beef with Aso is that he's dashing off here and there on the taxpayer's yen on his more or less private jet, Japan's equivalent of Air Force One, even though his effectiveness as a leader of the country is nil, so he can't make any promises. I think he's travelled more than Koizumi in the few months he's been in office. He probably does so to keep out of public glare, but also because he likes the perks of office. He's scheduled to go to China for a summit, then London for another summit, and he's trying to arrange a Europe trip for Golden Week.
    For all this he's just giving us a measly 12,000 yen. Why doesn't he give us 1,200,000 yen if he really wants to stimulate the economy? (I'm not telling him the answer because I hope a reporter asks him this question.)
    Aso went to summit conferences like the opening of the UN general assembly, ASEM in Beijing, G20 meeting on the economic crisis in Washington, APEC summit in Peru, and South Korea for a summit with President Lee Myung-bak. What would you have him do ? In my personal judgement, stimulus spending of any amount is a colossal waste, but Japan is supposed to stay away from major international gatherings for a measly 6 million dollars in taxpayer money ??

  3. #28
    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    This is just my opinion but yes, I would have Aso stay to try to prod the bureaucracy to formulate better policies for the serious problems Japan is facing. It would be a good signal to the populace. He could send his ministers (Nakagawa excluded) to participate in any discussion that he doesn't absolutely have to be at--Aso probably doesn't know much about the economy anyway judging from his performance. He just seems to want to fly off anywhere at the drop of a hat.

    Six million dollars would pay my share of taxes for at least a couple of years, and I'd like my share of that expense refunded.

    Also, I don't think Western-style fiscal reform would find much support in Japan these days. A new leader would have to be more pragmatic and less ideological.

  4. #29
    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    Also, I don't think Western-style fiscal reform would find much support in Japan these days. A new leader would have to be more pragmatic and less ideological.
    I believe that is partly due to the fact the J-gov wasted trillions of dollars for wasteful infrastructure spending during the 90s and the early part of this decade. It just threw money away to any public projects they can think of for the sake of just spreading the yens. I am not sure the J-electorate cares about this as it is too apolitical to oppose anything.

  5. #30
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    This is just my opinion but yes, I would have Aso stay to try to prod the bureaucracy to formulate better policies for the serious problems Japan is facing. It would be a good signal to the populace. He could send his ministers (Nakagawa excluded) to participate in any discussion that he doesn't absolutely have to be at--Aso probably doesn't know much about the economy anyway judging from his performance. He just seems to want to fly off anywhere at the drop of a hat.

    Six million dollars would pay my share of taxes for at least a couple of years, and I'd like my share of that expense refunded.

    Also, I don't think Western-style fiscal reform would find much support in Japan these days. A new leader would have to be more pragmatic and less ideological.
    Whichever leader emerges is going to be pragmatic. Both parties are way too factionalized to allow for anything less. The scandal has at least affirmed the strategy of reformists in both the DJP and LDP to strongly distance hemselves from their respective party's leader, particularly in support of urban voters that are less beholden to corrupt public spending. Uprisings and mini-rebellions by idealistic hardcore ideologues on both sides have traditionally either failed outright or been negotiated to forestall the downfall of the entire party in the process.

    As of today, my prediction is that the LDP will fall in the next elections since, with a divided Diet, the DPJ has the greater chance at the moment of being a more effective government. Whether fiscal and other reforms will thereby follow, with less hinderance by the old LDP way of politics, is of course the question it all depends on.

  6. #31
    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    So now we know that Aso's great idea of a 12,000 yen handout was a complete waste. Not only did it not buy any support for his party, it didn't stimulate the economy at all. He should have given us each 1,200,000 yen like I suggested, or spent that money more wisely. But it's too late now. Sorry, but I can't say I'll miss the guy.

  7. #32
    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    I was wrong

    Aso's stimulus package, which includeed cash handouts and incentives to buy energy-efficient cars and electronics, actually help to expand the economy in the 2nd quarter. Apologies to the PM.

    But, consumer spending is expected to fall unless there is some kind of change in the horizon. Perhaps a V-shaped global recovery - unlikely. Or a change in govenment - more likely. So I'm rooting for Hatoyama's party. However, Hatoyama's party is beginning to sound a lot like Aso's party with its pork barrel proposals. Both parties want policies to outspend the other in order to win the election. I wonder if Ozawa is behind this? I think he's a liability, and the party would be much better off without him.

  8. #33
    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    I think Japan needs change in political leadership. After decades of rules by LDP, things have been mostly status quo. The world around Japan has been changing rapidly and Japan needs to change with it to confront and respond to what it is facing (ie. economic stagnation, political sclerosis, ever stronger challenges from other countries such as China and others, and etc).
    The ship has been heading in the wrong direction and a new captain needs to take the helm before it hits a massive iceberg or grounds ashore.

  9. #34
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    Aso's stimulus package, which includeed cash handouts and incentives to buy energy-efficient cars and electronics, actually help to expand the economy in the 2nd quarter. Apologies to the PM.
    But, consumer spending is expected to fall unless there is some kind of change in the horizon. Perhaps a V-shaped global recovery - unlikely. Or a change in govenment - more likely. So I'm rooting for Hatoyama's party. However, Hatoyama's party is beginning to sound a lot like Aso's party with its pork barrel proposals. Both parties want policies to outspend the other in order to win the election. I wonder if Ozawa is behind this? I think he's a liability, and the party would be much better off without him.
    The issue is more one of Ozawa's position than the man per se, as behind the scenes party leader negotiating between ruling party and the Cabinet instead of a Cabinet member where the policy process is one of transparency, openness and accountablity. Both he and Koizuimi for all intents and purposes destroyed the LDP system years ago. And Hatoyama is just enough of a weak-minded, easily pressured, smooth-taking leader with fuzzy promises for this arrangement to blow up big.


    As for taking on debt, no democratic country in the world is free from pork barrel spending to one extent or another. At least Hatoyama (Ozawa) et al are on the right track with their drive to stimulate domestic consumption by investing in social spending at the expense of wasteful public works, removing highway tolls and tariffs, and most crucially, transitioning from bureaucratic to political rule. The DJP should be able to hook up with smaller parties post-election for political capital to pursue fundamental structural changes : administrative reform, regional decentralization, reconstruction of the social safety net etc.

  10. #35
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    Aso's stimulus package, which includeed cash handouts and incentives to buy energy-efficient cars and electronics, actually help to expand the economy in the 2nd quarter. Apologies to the PM.
    But, consumer spending is expected to fall unless there is some kind of change in the horizon. Perhaps a V-shaped global recovery - unlikely. Or a change in govenment - more likely. So I'm rooting for Hatoyama's party. However, Hatoyama's party is beginning to sound a lot like Aso's party with its pork barrel proposals. Both parties want policies to outspend the other in order to win the election. I wonder if Ozawa is behind this? I think he's a liability, and the party would be much better off without him.
    And the rap on Aso was that he lacked directed and intelligent leadership ??


    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/99704548-8...44feabdc0.html

    http://www.hatoyama.gr.jp/masscomm/090810.html

    Read this and tell me Hatoyama is not up to his nuttiness quotiant in saying dumb things to make a bigger fool of himself and voters wonder what they must have been thinking in electing him. (In all fairness, it was said about Koizumi, though, too...what a flaky ignoramus with an unbalanced personality._


    A muddled mishmash of cliched pop-anti-globalizationism, mystical brotherhood-ism, and re
    actionary conservatism with a few good nuggets but nothing remotely addresses the international environment Japan finds itself with the rigor it needs from a leader. Japanese politics seems to equate vision with vagueness, but Hatoyama's "thinking" is borderline whacky, and that's saying quite a bit.

  11. #36
    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    Regime Change

    The DPJ's proposed policies are basically anti-LDP policies, which is what the public wants. And the DPJ has a lock on at least 290 of the 480 seats up for grabs. It will have a clear majority in the important lower house. So while some of the proposed policies may be questionable, arguing about it would be more or less academic.

    Rather than argue about it, an astute person would try figure out how he/she can benefit from the coming regime change. My thinking is that we should put our bets on the domestic service sector as well as the health industries. At least for the near term, a DPJ victory will be good for the economy.

  12. #37
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    The DPJ's proposed policies are basically anti-LDP policies, which is what the public wants. And the DPJ has a lock on at least 290 of the 480 seats up for grabs. It will have a clear majority in the important lower house. So while some of the proposed policies may be questionable, arguing about it would be more or less academic.
    Rather than argue about it, an astute person would try figure out how he/she can benefit from the coming regime change. My thinking is that we should put our bets on the domestic service sector as well as the health industries. At least for the near term, a DPJ victory will be good for the economy.
    I hope you're right, although programs for sustainable, long term economic and fiscal policy is definately a weak point of the opposition manifesto. Their challange is twofold : 1). diversify and shift the Japanese economy’s base of growth from over-dependence on external demand 2). clean up government finances to meet the Japanese people's demands for their social security.



    At least the Hatoyama cabinet selection process seems to be shaping up well. Accomplishing anything is going to require a "divide and rule" strategy of steadily and patiently wearing down the influence of institutions that have dealt the death knell to so much reform in the past. So centering the locus of policymaking process on politicians in the cabinet as a long term goal by placating ministry officials, beauracrats, interest groups, Ozawa and other party leaders may be the key to actually not squandering a mandate in 4 years (ala LDP) and staying in power long enough to drive them out.

  13. #38
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogen Z View Post
    Rather than argue about it, an astute person would try figure out how he/she can benefit from the coming regime change. My thinking is that we should put our bets on the domestic service sector as well as the health industries. At least for the near term, a DPJ victory will be good for the economy.
    It's interesting. The economy is fueled by domestic consumption for sure although I haven't analyzed a break down by domestic sources v. exports. But the low productivity of the service sector I thought was generally considered a major drag on growth ??

    We can say absolutely that the driver of growth isn't going to come from the financial services industry or financial products as a measure of GDP. If Hatoyama has any core principle it is his love of haranguing on anything anti-American, anti-globalization, unrestrained market fundamentalism, financial capitalism...etc. Best not to even get him started.

  14. #39
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Sorry for the double post.


    If you haven't laughed enough during this campaign....this really is one of the truly funny things ever from a Japanese politican.

    http://shisaku.blogspot.com/2009/08/...ells-joke.html



    Hands down winner as the single worst justification for a continued mandate of LDP rule.

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