Friday, September 14, 2007

Set Warp Speed for the Sun

It is a measure of the speed at which the ground is shifting that this was unassailable yesterday.

This morning, the "Anyone but Aso Tarō" movement is blowing away Aso's fantasy of a triumphant march into the prime ministership:

Support for Fukuda grows LDP race on Sept. 23 seen as 2-way battle with Aso; Nukaga may also join
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda has decided to run in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election to choose a successor to outgoing party leader and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sources said Thursday.

LDP Secretary General Taro Aso is expected to declare his candidacy at a press conference scheduled to be held Friday, while Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga has expressed his intention to run.

The contest is expected to be a two-way race between Aso and Fukuda. According to observers, Fukuda is gaining support across the LDP's factions...

To what extent Aso's insensitivity toward Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's mental illness, indeed his glee at the prospect he would be soon replacing the prime minister, has driven members of the LDP to the elderly Fukuda Yasuo (who, at this time last year, was "too old to be prime minister") will be an interesting question for political junkies.

For social scientists, last night's open discussion of Abe's damaged mental state challenges the prevailing wisdom that Japanese find mental illness too embarrassing to talk about. Though I have seen no discussion of his medication regimen, such as there may be, the willingness of news reporters and politicians to openly discuss his incapacitation was both shocking and encouraging.

As for the Koizumi Children, the LDP first-termers in the House of Representatives, and the Koizumi Korps of the House of Councillors--the young sophisticates and media marvels who have been written off as roadkill in the race to win back the support of rural voters--they have gone on the offensive. In a show of force, they demanded and received a four day delay in the party presidential election, which will now be held on September 23. This morning, they are hitting the airwaves, demanding that not just the LDP, but all parties act responsibly for the good of the nation, not just cater to faction or special interests. (Mino Monta just had Inokuchi Kuniko and Satō Yukari on his morning--and the pair of assassins looked and sounded fabulous.)

The landscape is rumbling and churning beneath our feet.

3 comments:

Jun Okumura said...

Princess Masako's state of mind has been openly discussed for some time now, if mostly in the daily and weekly tabloids. That's a taboo twofer.

MTC said...

Different narrative arcs, though, Okumura-san.

Masako-sama is the commoner victim of a tight-lipped conservative institution.

Abe-san is the heretofore pampered leader of a tight-lipped conservative institution.

The French Reader said...

Regarding Fukuda-san's sudden rise, this is the Tokyo Tower scenario: Okan to Boku to tokidoki oton.
Japan is in a deep political crisis. They need a "daddy" to tell the Japanese children (=the Japanese nation as a whole) that everything is alright. The "tokidoki oton"'s era has come again. Fukuda-san looks like a good dady. Not Aso-san. The LDP needs a good, caring pop.