Friday, November 30, 2007

The Democrats learn something, maybe

In marked contrast to the stunning self-immolation of Democratic Party of Japan leader Maehara Seiji over the forged Takebe Tsutomu email, the DPJ and its allies in the House of Councillors have backed down from the demand that Minister of Finance Nukaga Fukushiro testify on Monday regarding his relationship to Takemasa Moriya and Miyazaki Motonobu:

Japan's Parliament Won't Summon Finance Minister, Lawmaker Says

By Keiichi Yamamura and Sachiko Sakamaki -- Nov. 30 -- Japan's upper house of parliament decided not to summon Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga next week for questioning in an investigation of bribery for defense contracts, an opposition lawmaker said today.

Kenji Yamaoka, parliamentary affairs chief of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said in parliament today that the upper house reversed its earlier decision and will not summon Nukaga on Dec. 3.

The upper house, controlled by opposition lawmakers, decided on Nov. 27 to questions Nukaga and former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya.

Moriya, 63, and his wife Sachiko, 56, were arrested on Nov. 28 on suspicion of receiving bribes from Motonobu Miyazaki, an executive of defense contractor Yamada Corp. Moriya has said he and Nukaga met with Miyazaki at a dinner on Dec. 4 last year.

"It was meaningful to summon Mr. Moriya and Mr. Nukaga at the same time for sworn testimony," said DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama at an earlier press conference today. "But with Mr. Moriya's arrest, it's become impossible..."
Hatoyama is lying prevaricating, of course. Moriya's arrest was a distraction, not a roadblock. The DPJ gave up because it had nothing on Nukaga.

Given the current hopeless guyishness of the DPJ leaders, they probably would have gone right over the edge into the abyss, asking question after pointless question of Nukaga just to show the world how determined they are to not back down. However, House of Councillors Speaker Eda Satsuki -- on hiatus from his membership in the Democratic Party but clearly thinking about the party's health -- saved his old allies stumbling into a very public embarrassment. It was Eda's request to the DPJ leadership to try once more, in the interest of commity, to accommodate the opinions of the LDP (the motion to have Nukaga testify passed without a single LDP or Komeitō member in attendance) that opened the trapdoor allowing the DPJ to escape from its own ultimatum.

Damn lucky thing for the Democrats that Eda was there to slam on the brakes of this runaway train.

Damn lucky for all of us.


Jun Okumura said...

When even the Communist Party:) and the New People's Party got off the bandwagon, the DPJ had to back down. I actually think that they asked Mr. Eda to help them save some face, and he was only too happy to oblige.

BTW, although I don't have enough backup material to think through the implications to write a full-bore post, I don't think the Public Prosecutors Agency will end up placing a criminal charge on an LDP politician from the Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange (lots of LDP politicians,one Seiji Maehara, one New Kōmeitō on the board; also old businessmen, old ex-bureaucrats), but I expect more embarrassment for defense-tribe politicians who like to play golf and eat out. (Mr. Nukaga is using the stop-gap "kiokuni nai", always a bad sign.) Also, less embarrassing, all-expenses-paid overseas conferences and the like.

Jun Okumura said...

By which I meant, "from the Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange affair". Non-LDP politicians like Mr. Maehara are even less likely to be taken out.