Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Behold, a New Power Rises in the East

Well, that did not take very long.

The Koizumi Children are already a force to be reckoned with in the House of Representatives. Twenty three times during Prime Minister Koizumi's 14 minute and 36 second inaugural address, the second briefest address in postwar history, the Children applauded their leader. In comments to reporters afterward, Maehara Seiji, the new leader of the Democrats, derided them as "the applause crew" (hakushu yoin).

Certain television networks whose names need not be mentioned (i.e., TV Asahi and TBS) sliced and spliced the post-address interviews with various newcomers into montages that made it seem as though all they were all echoing each other:

"The Prime Minister sounded strong."
"The speech was extremely strong."
"Strength was what the prime minister was showing us."
"I came away with an impression of strength."

Convicted felon Tsujimoto Kiyomi added her two yen's worth, calling the Children "creepy" (bukimi). But she softened her comment by grinning broadly while she said it.

Speaking of the felons, due to the vagaries of the party-centered seating arrangements, all three of them are bunched together in the cheap seats near the left field foul line, so that a shot of the dais speaker's right profile has all three of them full frontal.

The Little Village People

The former Ozato Group, which has been leaderless since Ozato Sadatoshi chose to retire rather than run in the September election, has selected Finance Minister Tanigaki Sadakazu as its new leader. Former secretary-general of the Defense Agency Nakatani Gen takes over as the group's #2. The Tanigaki (?) Group will have 11 members in the House of Representatives and 4 members in the House of Councilors.

Say Goodnight Gracie

Keidanren Chairman Okuda Hiroshi paid a visit on China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing on Monday. Okuda told Wen that Prime Minister Koizumi said, "Pass on my best regards to Prime Minister Wen...because I am a member of the 'Friends of China' wing of my party."

Wen's response, according the Mainichi Shimbun: “Me too.”

I need to see the Chinese original on this one.


Poopdeck McDogg said...

Frist! I mean, First! Okay, MR. Contemplation, you got me; what's with the George Burns quote?
Anyway, Full Frontal Felony would be agreat name for a rock band. And speaking of felons, is Kobayashi Kenji, the felon that failed, a Feloneous Wonk?

Oh, it's not that kind of a blog...

Okay, here goes: Koizumi is riding high now, but if, instead of cranking himself up to make a show of using the next 12 months to tackle such boring issues as rewriting the Constitution, renovating the public welfare system, raising taxes, etc., etc., he intends to let his successors take the heat for all the hard choices they have to make, that act will wear thin very quickly with the public. As for Maehara, he'll have to connect very quickly with the public before Ozawa, Hatoyama and Kan are able to work their smirking witchcraft to undermine his budding authority.

MTC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MTC said...

Maehara's complaints to the contrary, Koizumi has already filled up his plate with policy proposals. An assault on even one of the other governmental and quasi-governmental financial services, not to mention all of them, is a huge task. He also has to figure out whether he can wring any further strategic or tactical value out of the Samawah deployment, a political hot potato he should not hand over to a successor. Since the Japan's permanent seat in the Security Council and the NeoCon Pax Americana are lost causes, Koizumi has little reason to keep the GSDF in Iraq anyway. There just might be a water project in Afghanistan they can take on instead.

The improvement of the GOJ's fiscal position will be a relative breeze but hardly a bore. As Yosano Kaoru noted on Sunday Project, revenues will be increased not by raising taxes but by "reversing temporary tax cuts."
The opposition just loves Yosano's sense of humor.

Poopdeck McDogg said...

I'd wait and see the game plan for the financial institutions. Will he eliminate overlap and shrink the consolidated lending/investment portfolio, or will he be content with a numbers game, a la the consolidation of the ministries?
Samawah is a bummer, and a challenge, though I feel the logistics will make the decision for him. One possibility: no mission, no shield, no JDF. Along these more pressing diplomacy/security issues, my pet peeve is the looming clash off-shore gas development in troubled waters.
The recision of the temporary tax cut helps, but it does not come anywhere close to solving the problem. Moreover, it is just a return to the original game plan, income tax as a whole has been taken off the table for the time being, and the consumption tax rate is an issue that Koisumi has remanded to posterity. Sometimes it's hard to believe he's pro-MOF, if anything.