Should Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo, his party and the Komeitō make use of their supermajority in the House of Representatives to override either a rejection of the revised Indian Ocean dispatch law or a failure to act upon it, the Democrats and their allies in the House of Councillors will pass a censure motion against the Prime Minister.
Some confusion lingers, abetted by forces within the ruling coalition, about the seriousness of a censure motion.
A censure motion is serious, serious enough to trigger a move toward a forced resignation or an election--among men and women of conscience, that is.
A censure motion is, in a certain sense, a declaration of war. The power of the censure motion comes not from what it says about the present but what it says about the future.
Namely that, for the object of the censure motion, there is none.
A censure motion from the House of Councillors should be understood as saying this:
"We are not able to work with you today. We will not be able to work with you tomorrow. Since this is the House of Councillors and we just had an election, we do not have to work with you for the next three years. So shove off."
That is the sunny, positive version of the message. A more somber, menacing version points out that given the electoral map of 2010, the anti-LDP coalition in the House of Councillors is nearly guaranteed a lifespan of six years.
Prime Minister Fukuda must understand this, even if his nominal underlings do not.
Later - a thank you to the anonymous commenter who spotted the error in the first paragraph.