politics

Opposition, too weak to take power, aims to dim Abe's luster

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By Linda Sieg

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PM ABE all the way!

-15 ( +8 / -23 )

The main reason for DPJ being as ineffective as it is lies behind one man: Ozawa Ichiro. Every party that Ichiro becomes part of later disintegrates or is in disarray. He was the president of DPJ for 3 years and then secretary general before abandoning ship as he couldn't have his way with everything. The only irony in Japan's political world is that it took so long for the politicians to see through this "lone wolf" as he has become today. LDP was lucky he abandoned their ship several decades ago.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I expect defectors from DPJ to LDP.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

mitoko...

As much as I loathe Ozawa, he's only one of the worst symptoms of the disease plaguing J-politics. The DPJ is incapable of carving out an ideologically distinct platform b/c all these empty suits are simply of different factions, with the same underlying philosophies. Former PM Noda 1) said Class A war criminals were not any such thing in his view, 2) pushed for the sales tax increase and 3) was all for the TPP. These are two neoliberal parties intent on austerity for most of us and the continued enrichment of elites. Will we reach the precipice a little sooner with the LDP in charge, yes, but either way no one with any sound ideas for governance has a shot at power here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

mitokomonalex Dec. 03, 2014 - 07:28AM JST

The main reason for DPJ being as ineffective as it is lies behind one man: Ozawa Ichiro. Every party that Ichiro becomes part of later disintegrates or is in disarray. He was the president of DPJ for 3 years and then secretary general before abandoning ship as he couldn't have his way with everything. The only irony in Japan's political world is that it took so long for the politicians to see through this "lone wolf" as he has become today. LDP was lucky he abandoned their ship several decades ago.

Completely agree! But here lies the problem, no one else was able to fill his shoes when he pick up his toys and stormed out of the party. It kills me to admit this as I despise the man but Ozawa and some of the other scumbags his age are, excuse the phrase, the last samurais, the only ones today who exhibit any ability to get things done, who have stealth and ferocity and a spine and take no prisoners. The rest aren't even worth the campaign paper the mugs are printed on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The main reason for DPJ being as ineffective as it is lies behind one man: Ozawa Ichiro. Every party that Ichiro becomes part of later disintegrates or is in disarray. He was the president of DPJ for 3 years and then secretary general before abandoning ship as he couldn't have his way with everything. The only irony in Japan's political world is that it took so long for the politicians to see through this "lone wolf" as he has become today. LDP was lucky he abandoned their ship several decades ago.

Ozawa was the only significant power in the DPJ. He was one of the few Japanese politicians who had enough influence to get around the permanent bureaucracy. But, like all politicians, he had some dirt hidden under the rug, which was exposed by his opponenents (he was very unloved by the press, who are beholden to the powers-that-be). He did not "abandon ship", he was made to walk the plank.

I don't necessarily believe that he would have been successful in his policy changes, but he would have put up more of a fight than Abe has. I have yet to see Abe's "third arrow", which is the first one Ozawa had fired if he had had the opportunity.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

According to Ozawa, the Cabinet ministers and the ruling party members operate as if they are different teams, the "double-layered" policy making process causes complicated policy making systems, delays responses to foreign affairs and affects the leadership of the prime minister. Ozawa seems desperate to change his image as a power broker, his efforts have not completely paid off. There are many critics. And the strongest come from the media.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've never seen a country, a world power, so lacking in intelligent people with varying ideas on how to get things done and wanting to be the president/prime minister. Where's the political adversaries?

I know this country is homogeneous to a sickening fault, but doesn't anyone with a strong will and heart think they have a better way to keep us out of the gutter? Not just the same idea from different cogs in the same black suit?

So disappointing.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Opposition, too weak to take power, aims to dim Abe's luster

Truly sad that the world's third-largest economy, and a supposed democracy for nearly 7 decades now, is in this state. But, as the famous expression goes: "Every nation gets the government it deserves". Japan is a country of lemmings, and the LDP has capitialized on this since the end of the war.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

“I've never seen a country, a world power, so lacking in intelligent people with varying ideas on how to get things done…”

Sounds harsh but it takes some effort to deny this. As we all know, the entire point of Japanese education is to eradicate non-conformity. Depending on what part of society you occupy, it would be no wonder that you’d come to your above conclusion. Pockets of dissent, iconoclasts, do exist, but you will never ever hear about their ideas in the traditional press. As in most societies, look to artists and intellectuals. I daresay many in the rank and file, even among the much maligned salarymen, see their government for exactly what it is. But kugi deru and all that--they are terrified of speaking out. God knows in an era of reactionary repression (comfort women threats) they may well have good reason to stay mum. OTOH, they do so at their own/their children’s risk—this country is barrelling towards dystopia.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I've never seen a country, a world power, so lacking in intelligent people with varying ideas on how to get things done and wanting to be the president/prime minister.

Um, think you overlooked the US. Large country to the right, next to Canada and Mexico...

Speaking of intelligent people, and not sure they're well represented on JT, I'd be more impressed if more of these opposition parties had credible policies beyond bad-mouthing Abe. Some do support what he has done to some extent, rightly or wrongly, which is shows a certain amount of sincerity regarding the country's welfare, rather than just trying to score points.

0 ( +5 / -6 )

Don't give all the credit for today's mess and ineffectivness in Japan's political arena to the indigenous Yamato politicians. They had help from the CIA, especially during the reign of Yoshida and Kishi by making them reliant on US military protection. It was either, you're with us or against us in those days and for that's how the LDP has survived all these years.

In Japan's politics much of what has taken place in the last 70 years is similar to the aftereffects of the ex-colonized nations around the world. Long after the colonial yoke has been removed and independence gained the divide and conquer techiques employed by the colonizers and in Japan's case, the US continues to hover and meddle in Japanese politics. That said, the LDP, has also taken advantage of foreign pressure, real or false, to strengthen their hold on the people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

For the first time since its founding in 1998, the DPJ is not running enough candidates to win a majority of the 475 seats up for grabs on its own. Japanese media said the party was fielding 198 candidates.

No better time to take power, and it sounds like they are giving up before they have started. What's up with that?

DPJ leaders and candidates admit voters are scarred.

More like they're scared.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the DPJ surged to power in 2009 on a promise to focus on ordinary consumers rather than the big firms

Speaks volumes. We're all obedient consumers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Watching the debate yesterday... I hardly think the opposition will be able to even throw a decent punch. Furthermore, I think it will knock itself out....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ShermanDEC. 03, 2014 - 10:13AM JST Abe comes from Shimonoseki. The HQ of the formidable Yamaguchi-Gumi Yakuza gang. I know he is well in bed with that lot.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Abe is from Nagato. Yamaguchiguni is headquartereed in Kobe. There is Godagumi in Shimonoseki. A few years ago, Abe's political offices were fire bombed by Kyushu;s Kudo-kai. Goda gimi organized to crush Kudo kai. Since Godsa guni was creagted by Kouichi Goda, Goda gumi has been making yakuzas troubles quiet down in Yamaguchi-ken, Abe hates violent yakuzas ax his offices were attacked by Kudo-kai. Abe famiklies claim they are descendents of nakatau Abe. And he does not need yakuza help. He is descendent of samurai, Overthere, very many samurai descendents. Ykuzas there are differebts, Tekiyas there,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is still a semi-feudal society in many ways. The political system, education system and justice system are examples of this. The Japanese think that people like Abe have the right to rule them as they see fit. There is little protest when the media becomes excessively biased, because the people expect a biased media. I don't think the lack of political options is down to a lack of intelligence. I think it's down to Japanese people "knowing their place" in the overly hierarchical structure of their society. This is why they find it so easy to dismiss so many things with a shrug of the shoulders and a "sho-ga-nai". They expect their PM to be the son or grandson of a PM and they expect the dynasties to continue and for little to ever change.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Something I find baffling about Japanese politics is the fact that, where there is such an ingrained tradition of dynasticism - where children are born into the elite families and from then on groomed for their predestined roles in government - why is there such a pitiful dearth of political ideas?

When the kids with the Magic Surnames are brought up entirely within the political sphere, knowing that one day they will inherit the mantle passed down over generations, does nobody seem to have the first notion about how to galvanise the voters? Why does nobody have a scrap of leadership about them? Look at the picture of the day yesterday for a real gallery of nondescript, indistinguishable grey men, without a bold policy between them.

With Abe's popularity at a low ebb, with most voters disillusioned by the failed panacea of Abenomics and disgusted by having to fork out 60 billion yen on an unnecessary election at the same time as being told we have to pay more tax because the money's running out, why can not one of the Chosen Ones put together an attractive set of opposing policies? Where is the leadership?

It's bewildering. What's even more astounding is that the voters don't demand more. But I suppose if you're brought up to believe that Abe was destined to be a great Prime Minister because his grandfather was Prime Minister, then you're either easily impressed or you make do with low expectations.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"To obey a real superior...is one of the most important of all virtues—a virtue absolutely essential to the attainment of anything great and lasting"

Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind

Just came across this and if truer words were ever spoken of Japan...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The DPJ is incapable of carving out an ideologically distinct platform b/c all these empty suits are simply of different factions, with the same underlying philosophies. “I've never seen a country, a world power, so lacking in intelligent people with varying ideas on how to get things done…”

I don't think that the Japanese are into ideologies and ideas. They are into real world action. This is why the politician that gets up earliest, bows at the most street corners, makes the most noise, puts up the most posters, sends his sound truck to most places, and has the most real world connections, will be more likely to get in that the politician that makes a well reasoned election speech and manifesto, since to many Japanese, "ideaology" and "ideas" are just a lot of words (rikutsu) and probably later to become lies to boot. There is no generalised other in Japan, no super-addressee, no supposed or real, ear of the Other. The only people listening are voters and they know that politicians speak a lot of faff.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hi, @ReformedBasher,

"Um, think you overlooked the US. Large country to the right, next to Canada and Mexico..."

I know the US is the world's citizens' favorite punching bag, and often for valid reasons, but they aren't dearth of influential people with sensible and new ideas on how to improve something.

They are the number one economy and a superpower despite being the biggest polluter, the biggest waster of energy, and are very unpopular in quite a few countries around the world. America is like a power hitter in baseball: great strength, can hit the ball out of the park, can carry your team to a win, but it's lack of discipline and weak fundamentals can also frustrate you when a ball goes between his legs or swings badly at every first pitch.

Imagine what the US would be like if it got its act together. Cause, the US's problem is the opposite of Japan. There are so many different interest groups, so many people and so many countries that all want the US govt to do something for them and the country is pulled in so many directions, thus so many smart people are pulling one president in every direction and the prez feels they have to appease some of them.

In Japan, Japan just has to really help itself. Some countries are dependent upon Japan for nuclear technology and such, but it's not counted on by the world's poor to bail them out when needed. I think Japan's biggest problem is they can't figure out a way of honoring their past while separating themselves from it and thinking of new ways, maybe radically different ways of doing things that they hadn't tried before.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

LDP or DPJ, either way it's a race to the bottom. Neither has the political courage or imagination to dig us out of this stagnant cesspit

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Because what we need right now is the anti-business know-nothing DPJ back in power again. The Earth literally shook them off last time, on 3/11/11.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The best hope for this country was immediately after the earthquake. That should have been the time when everyone pulled together and created change and a new Japan. Instead of letting the PM at the time get going in the most difficult time in Japan in decades, Kan had to put up not only with continual attacks from the LDP but even his OWN people Hatoyama and Ozawa. To me that was unbelievable and extremely disappointing. That those two could attack their own party leader during Japan's biggest crisis made me realise that the country was finished.

sorry. But it's hard to see a great future for Japan. They could have at least all got together for a few months and put the daggers away for at least the rest of 2011.

It was shameful. They were all hitting themselves over the head with fiddles while Japan burned. (yes I know - I butchered the quote)

3 ( +5 / -2 )

For all that Abe is or isn't no one has given any ideas or shown any plans how to do things differently, lots of critics but none offering any alternatives.

What ever Abe did or said would be no good and criticised to the full extent, but I have heard no one offering other solutions or constructive input.

The ruling party and the opposition are all riddled with controversy and corruption there is no escaping that, it is, after all Japan where corruption cover ups and other under hand tactics are part of the culture and society.

The foreigners here are the lucky ones , they can pack up and move out anytime they find it too much, the native Japanese however are trapped here, unless rich enough to afford an escape. I would be feeling for them more deeply but they are too brow beat and brainwashed to ever take a stand against those in power and really change things.

To me being a foreigner I see one thing and that is opportunity and to take full advantage of the situation within the bounds of the law, then make my departure when the time is right.

Those who just sit here and whinge and moan continuously need to either become citizens and vote, shut up, or just move one.

Sitting whinging and moaning is meaningless.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

It seems that sooner or later Japan will turn into a second "Weimar Republic".

Parties en masse, all over the place without really knowing how to do or how to change something to the better.

And as was mentioned before, there is no real alternative to the presently governing party at this time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Change has been a stranger in postwar Japan's political system. Japanese politics runs on the deep pockets of the well-heeled.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

StormR Dec. 03, 2014 - 12:31PM JST

Those who just sit here and whinge and moan continuously need to either become citizens and vote, shut up, or just move one. Sitting whinging and moaning is meaningless.

Maybe you're right! Sitting whinging and moaning is meaningless and nobody is listing to boot. Yeah, we could change our nationality and earn the right to vote but why should we? Yes, we could just lie down and shut up like so many Japanese do but I say WTF, it's fun to sit, whinge and moan, why hell, I even like to do it naked while sipping bourbon! I guess some of us would rather vent a little steam in a forum with others who have an interest in the same topics than to let our anger and frustration boil over. I guess that's why we are all here on this website in the first place.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan is still a semi-feudal society in many ways

Precisely. Japan has certainly experienced change after 1853 and 1945 but underneath this feudalistic mentality has remained

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There is no chance that Democratic Party will win.

November 24, 2014

His speech at the Democratic Party of the street

No1:http://youtu.be/PcPcMsaWyZw

No2:http://youtu.be/qig8Aq4HRac

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Opposition, too weak to take power, aims to dim Abe's luster"

Spoilsports?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Alex80 Dec. 03, 2014 - 06:33PM JST

@Mr. Perfect and smithinjapan: both of you share the same "Japan bashing" attitude, ignoring the real facts. Nuclear lobby is corrupt everywhere, so if you think you can solve the problem in Japanese nuke industry employing some foreign people, you are wrong. I like a nuclear free world, but as GW said, many countries with a huge nuke industry are pressing Japan because they want it restarts its reactors. Do you think the nuke industry is more transparent in the US, UK or France? NO! So the solution for Japan isn't having more foreigners in the industry, but let its reactors OFF. Sadly, this can't happpen also because of foreign interests in the nuclear industry.

Nuclear lobby is corrupt everywhere, so if you think you can solve the problem in Japanese nuke industry employing some foreign people, you are wrong.

Alex80, I COMPLETELY AGREE. However, I never said nor implied Japan should employ foreign people. I do think though it would be a magnificent idea to have experts from outside Japan work with their Japanese counterparts to bring this Fukushima crisis under control IF it would help. Would you agree or do you think TEPCO and the government of Japan are doing just fine?

I like a nuclear free world,... and so would I. I think Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, not to mention Hiroshima & Nagasaki, have more than made the case that we ALL would be better off without nuclear power & weapons.

Do you think the nuke industry is more transparent in the US, UK or France? NO they are not so I completely agree with you!

So the solution for Japan isn't having more foreigners in the industry, but let its reactors OFF. Ok, I won't argue there with shutting them all down but even if that happens you still have to bring TEPCO Daichi 1~4 reactors under control and decommission them! Does industry experts with experience in bringing a smoldering crippled reactor under control because if so, they sure aren't showing their ability to do so. Why not bring in experts from outside Japan to assist. When you have a natural disaster of epic proportions do you refuse the help of outsiders. No, and when 3/11 happened didn't the US send in Aircraft carriers and a supporting fleet as well as other aid to help those in Sendai as well as other countries from around the world? I know I spent one week as a volunteer in Ishinomaki from 3/17~ 3/25 at great expense to me personally and actually resign from my company because my president refused my request to go.

So maybe you ought to rethink before you assume everyone who may have a differing opinion from yours has a "Japan bashing" attitude. Those who are out to bash things are out to destroy them compared to those who critique for the purpose of improving! But yes, I was bashing TEPCO but they aren't deserving of my respect, and TEPCO is my electric utility provider.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's as arithmetically grim for the DPJ fielding just 198 candidates as intrinsically ominous for the LDP losing seats to fringe parties. While the election charade is being enacted the economy is under siege from moody's and S&P. Just a peek at December 20 call and strike on the nasdaq yen dollar currency options, coupled with the intransigence on any debt management strategy until after the election is definitive of the LDP arrogance in calling this election. The posturing, all the righteous promising of reform to the employment and agriculture sectors beggars the question why the deafening silence from the media. Taking a closer look at the nuclear energy mirage programme. What is needed is a open and honest approach, spelling out clearly to the electorate since the great switch off from 2011 to 2013 alone import costs have contributed negatively by a cumulative $160+ billion of which 55% came from energy imports. This is the motivation behind the restarts. No politician wants to debate it. The energy companies are holding back on swinging price rises that have already risen by average 28% from 2011. If the DPJ are unwilling to question Abe and the LDP policy then the trusting electorate will be told to put up or shut up after December 14th, after all the LDP will have there mandate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“If current indications hold, the LDP is going to lose very few seats and might even gain a few,” said Columbia University professor Gerry Curtis.

If this is the "analysts" that foreign media comes up with, it's no wonder FCCJ are ignored in Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What Japan really needs is for Douglas MacArthur to return. All things considered, SCAP did more positive things for the average Japanese person in five years than has been accomplished by the 29 prime ministers and their governments in the 70 years since the war ended.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"DPJ leaders and candidates admit voters are scarred."

Or is it scared?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What will be Kaieda's plan after this election? Will he still try to work for DPJ or will give up to retire?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abe’s ruling bloc is virtually assured of keeping power in a vote he has dubbed a referendum on his “Abenomics” recipe to end entrenched deflation and generate growth.

Yet, Abenomics does much to promote deflation, and slow (if not halt) growth. Stimulus spending, which really means deficit spending will make Japan's debt that much bigger. The BOJ's money printing spree further devalues the yen, making imported goods like oil, and fruit that much more costly.

Then. there's the consumption tax hike. Forcing higher costs on consumers and business via government fiat isn't going to revive the economy. There's no incentive for consumers to spend more of their strained incomes on discretionary purchases. That's something the LDP, and other tax hike supporters gloss over, if not ignore altogether.

Abe does seem open to free trade, but, is dragging his feet when he should get out there, and get free trade deals signed. Making the Japanese market even more accessible to foreign investment, and trade would deliver greater economic payoffs than taxation and deficit spending.

It's truly disappointing that Japan doesn't have more sensible alternatives to the likes of the DPJ, and the LDP. Both offer more interventionist, fiscally reckless policies and behaviour.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is purely and simply political opportunity on the part of Abe. We see now that after the failure of recent experiment of two party government, Japan has settled back into its accustomed one party rule. As for Abenomics, over half expressed disapproval. Still, for the majority who disapprove, what is the alternative? The sad reality is that, in terms of diet votes, the opposition parties hardly exist now, and will find themselves deeper in the state of being completely forgotten or unknown after the election.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The utter capitulation of the main opposition parties is a betrayal of the democratic process. No attempt at any form of reinvention. The LDP must be thinking Christmas has come early.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think LDP should invite DPJ to join in new Govt instead of depending on Komeito if it insistas to visit Yasukuni, Consensus with DPJ will ease mind of Japanese voters unless LDP has suoer majority. Doj has many savvy politicians wjp can help Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, timtak, the Japanese are not into ideologies but into real world action. Abe established the cabinet personnel management bureau in May this year that takes the authority to manage personnel affairs of higher ranking officials from the hands of bureaucrats to the government, maybe to much chagrin of the Finance Ministry the boss manager of Kasumigaseki. Even the news of how Abe got a cold reception by Chinese President Xi Jinping at APEC may arouse a tender sentiment for him among the Japanese who traditionally have sympathy for the underdog. Also the news of where the G20 leaders slept in Brisbane, Australia might do a lot for him. Abe booked at a AUS$200 a night room at Novotel, probably the cheapest stay of all, compared with Barack Obama who stayed at a suite at Marriott Hotel at AUS$2,500 a night and Chinese President Xi at the Stamford Plaza suite at AUS$1,695 a night. Probably it is difficult to dim Abe's luster for the time being in spite of the joint front (if formed at all) by the opposition parties morally supported by Presidents Xi and Park and the NYT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think LDP should invite DPJ to join in new Govt instead of depending on Komeito if it insistas to visit Yasukuni, Consensus with DPJ will ease mind of Japanese voters unless LDP has suoer majority. Doj has many savvy politicians wjp can help Japan.

After their mediocre performance over the past two years I'd say the DPJ are the last people who should be invited to join a government. Although the LDP could do worse than inviting all its former members who defected to form the DPJ to come back, thus putting an end to this horribly misconceived Frankenstein's Monster of a party once and for all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Opposition, too weak to take power, aims to dim Abe's luster

The left has nothing to offer Japan. The DPJ, CPJ and SPJ are completely useless entities whose touchy feely leftist ideas have no place in reality.

The leftists give you a nice song and dance, but in the end you have to fight to get their hands out of your pockets and your life!

The LDP and Prime Minister Abe are the only ones who have the strength and will to lead Japan to a better future.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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