Thursday, January 10, 2008

Over the next few weeks and months... should keep your eyes on what Okumura Jun of GlobalTalk 21 is writing about the gasoline tax and the compilation and passage of the elements of the national budget.

The seizure of control of the House of Councillors last year by a Democratic Party of Japan-led alliance is likely to produce an unprecedented open contest this winter over the question of what Japan should be. The struggle is not likely manifest itself in party statements or in question-and-answer sessions (especially if yesterday's party leader's debate is any indication). Instead, the course of the nation will be legible in the minutiae of how money gets spent and which taxes are applied or rescinded--in the areas where the Budget Committee of the LDP-led House of Representatives tries to find agreement with the Budget Committee of the DPJ-led House of Councillors.

Nobody is going to get everything he or she wants (all desires tend toward the infinite while resources remain stubbornly finite) and no one party apparatus exists to force losers to give up and take their lumps. Finding a peaceful resolution of the battles between the needs and demands of the various interests will not be pretty or simple. Making sense of the whole will require keeping an eye on every detail.

Okumura-san has been scrutinizing Diet maneuverings on these matters for several months now. I hope he will continue to favor us with his attention to the little things.

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