Monday, November 27, 2006

About that parliamentary democracy...thing... seems that for the first time a newspaper that is not called The Asahi Shimbun has found support for the Abe Cabinet falling into the fifties:

Support rating for Abe Cabinet plummets to 53 percent
Mainichi Interactive

The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plummeted 14 percent from the previous poll to 53 percent, according to the results of a Mainichi Shimbun survey.

Behind the decline appears to be the government's slow response to the rise in suicides by schoolchildren after they were bullied at school and other problems related to education, as well as the LDP's move to allow rebellious legislators to rejoin the party, observers said.

Some experts pointed out that the public has been disappointed with Abe's lack of leadership, which has caused a split within the governing party.

A lack of leadership? Well, maybe.

Perhaps less a lack of leadership than a lack of understanding.

Abe wishes to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, concentrating power and decision making in the Kantei to form a pseudo-presidential office.

However, Abe is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. The celebrated Mr. K understood either instinctively or through shrewd observation of the political process that if you wanted to be a president, you had to run for president--and not just of the ruling party. Without a real presidential election in Japan, where the voters choose their leader, the man who wishes to be president of Japan has to conjure up a direct line between himself and the voters EVERY SINGLE DAY. Koizumi gekijō, the political theater Koizumi put on before the voters to remind them that "I am your guy. Without your support I would have never been able to do this"--was the pass key to the vast increase of the prime minister's authority during Mr. K's five years in office.

Abe is trying to accrete power without doing the groundwork. After winning the party presidency in a walkover election thanks the support of party bigwigs and ideological fellow travelers, he has forgotten the public, except in his administration's nearly bottomless faith the motivational power of abductee issue. He does not reach out to the public as the source of his authority. Instead, he seems to believe that power is inherent in the position of Prime Minister (Somebody send him a biography of Benjamin Disraeli, quick!).

Abe has also become remarkably cavalier about the policy freelancing and loose tongues of his ministers, again because he believes the aura about the office of prime minister trumps all.

Can someone please put on a videotape of Kanemaru Shin telling the then Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi to go up the karaoke machine and sing something for everyone?

That'll show just about anyone watching exactly how much "aura" the office of PM has.


Jun Okumura said...

Maybe it hasn't fallen that far in the Yomiuri and Sankei polls.

Look. Maybe they're polling on different planets.

MTC said...

Precisely. How can the support numbers be so very different--and reflect each paper's respective editorial stance toward Prime Minister Abe?