Former Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has come back to the surface.
Six months after his intestinal fortitude failed him in September, forcing to leave the premiership, Abe seems to be taking baby steps toward rehabilitating himself in the political realm.
Yesterday, he presided over the first session of a new study group, Kūru āsu 50 (Cool Earth 50), dedicated to supporting the Toyako Summit and the goals, set down during the desperate days of the Abe administration, of halving greenhouse emissions by the year 2050.
At the time the project was announced, the Japanese name was Utsukushii sei 50, (The Beautiful Celestial Body 50). Abe, or whoever is propping him up, seems to realize that anything with utsukushii (beautiful) in the name is radioactive, politically speaking.
The launch of the study group, held inside LDP headquarters, was not exactly the "must attend" event of the day. Fourteen lawmakers showed up, mostly close allies and fellow doghouse dwellers like former Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa and former Special Advisor for Public Relations Sekō Hiroshige.
Today (March 6) Abe made his formal request to reinstated into the Machimura Faction. He had left the faction, as tradition demands, upon his election as president of the LDP in 2005. I cannot say whether the considerable length of time between his resignation as PM and his reacceptance into the faction is due to the damage he suffered himself or the damage his resignation inflicted upon the LDP. I doubt anyone will ever give an honest account of the last few months.
Abe is very solicitous as regards Fukuda's present political weakness. He has sworn to do what he can to bolster the government by ensuring the Toyako Summit's success.
He did, in code words, indicated that the petulant fantabulist obsessions still guide him:
"I have returned to the enthusiasm of the beginner, supporting the Fukuda Cabinet as a member of the Diet. I also want to go forward, building a country, Japan where there is pride (hokori no aru kuni, Nippon)
A great right wing favorite that hokori (誇り) . The right damn near owns a copyright on the word.
Even after the fall, the pride -- still trying to tell the citizens that their mode of thought is all wrong.
"Build a country, Japan, that has pride"-- not "a country, Japan, people can be proud of."
Those damn citizens again--still not appreciating
Yatsude (Fatsia japonica) in the courtyard of the Myōhonji
Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture
May 27, 2007
Photo credit: MTC
Later - The Japan Observer has his own fabulous post on this subject.