Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Will Prime Minister Noda survive Japanese hot summer?

"Japanese governance is melting down at the moment we cannot make decisions and go forward, so we need a new governance that will decide and move things forward. The old system [of Noda] depending on bureaucrats from the 60s' is too old and we need more dynamic changes in governance, we need a new  realignment and government system, a large coalition, and high speed to make decisions, we must speed up and carry on new policies!" 

Says who? A Japanese radical? No these are the views of House of Representatives lawmaker Takatane Kiuchi interviewed by Shingetsu news agency of my friend Michael Penn, keen analyst of JP politics. Kiuchi is a disappointed politician and he resigned from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan earlier this year, he recently established his own parliamentary group called the Association of Reform Independents.

I am always surprised with Japanese politics, especially in summer when the temperature gets nuts, 35 degrees C. Japanese politics is half way between Shakespeare betrayal's tragedies and the soap opera "Sex and the City". Editors and Diet-men and women are always excited with midsummer nightmares and dramas falling on Nagatacho years after years. Nagatacho it is the hill in center Tokyo where the Diet is located, above the Kasumigaseki ministries compound.

But when I read this news about atomic energy, I thought, that's it. "The Japanese Minister of Industry says it is conceivable that Japan ends completely nuclear power after 2030, without affecting the economy. We can do it" said Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yukio Edano at a press conference." Oh, really? And then this one "Currently Noda withdrew from imposing the consumption tax." This is a sequential change and I wait to see because such moves are not just simple things in Japan. A total reversal of top policy making. The Noda team gives up, and collapses around O-Bon summer holidays or September? Sure something has to be reinforced before the IMF World Bank gatherings in the Autumn.

What I mainly understand here is a configuration which would enable a political operation designed to the destabilization of the current Prime Minister Noda inspired by the dolce-vita of the conservatives and their neo-cons aficionados. Behind all of this summer agitation? No doubt the opposition, LDP and various small parties played by major power breakers, some neo-con over evaluated like the current Osaka mayor Hashimoto, or the DPJ Ozawa recently expelled by the Democrat party leadership of Mr Noda.

So what's the beef? Actually it won't change much to the way Japan is governed but it adds spices to a reconfiguration that Japan likes so much giving the archipelago the impression that things "move on". Reality is more stern. As weekly magazine writes there is an operation and internal turmoil in Parliament, from the conservatives but also and especially Shukan Shincho believes the former flamboyant Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is agitating the Diet work! I wonder.

Meanwhile the Japanese press suddenly discovers that "Surprising poll result shows signs that public is turning against nuclear power" (Mainichi August 7th) As one friend told me at a dinner recently, it is good this country has a strong bureaucracy otherwise the land would turn havoc... Looks like no-one knows where to go. So time for  the meltdown of the current Noda DPJ administration and arrival of a Koizumi style type strong led coalition, an Ishihara (the son not the father Governor of Tokyo) or an agglomeration of small parties led by LDP, it looks like DPJ boss Noda and LDP boss Tanigaki are unhappy since a few days. Something like, "your time is over, go now!"

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