Monday, April 14, 2008

Everything He Touches

Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Chaiman Tanigaki Sadakazu still had, as of this Saturday, problems with the law on appointments to the Bank of Japan...and with the Constitution:

"Is it all right for the Bank of Japan Law to be this way? When in this twisted Diet one thing after another gets just cannot go on this way! This kind of thing will simply repeat itself unless one takes into account the predominance of the House of Representatives, which the Cabinet has its base in. It is terrible!"
Now I repeat - Tanigaki is the LDP's Policy Research Council Chairman, the person in charge of directing the crafting the laws and regulations so that they are coherent with the Constitution, the existing code and the LDP's policy goals.

What the Constitution says about the membership of the Cabinet:

Article 68:

The Prime Minister shall appoint the Ministers of State. However, a majority of their number must be chosen from among the members of the Diet. 2) The Prime Minister may remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.

"The House of Representatives, which the Cabinet has its base in" (naikaku no kiso o oite iru shūin)?

Maybe this one. Maybe all of the postwar cabinets. But de jure? Sorry but no--unless he is using o oite iru to mean something other than what I think it means. Legally, the entire Cabinet could be comprised of House of Councillors members.

Can the Democratic Party of Japan pay Tanigaki enough for the damage he must be wreaking inside the LDP's policy councils? And how can he be considered a princeling, an heir apparent by anyone except an airhead?

At the Kosaka Kenji's fundraising party a few months back, Tanigaki introduced me to a sound that I had never heard before. As he took his turn at the microphone, he was greeted by a round of applause.

Not just any applause mind you. HOSTILE applause.

"Wow, is this guy unpopular," thought I.

In the brief, off-the-cuff remarks that followed, Tanigaki, in almost a Herculean effort, managed to make matters worse. The trite calls for firmness in the face of DPJ intransigence, the inappropriate bashfullness and attempts to ingratiate himself with the assembled...only made the attendees more stone-faced.

It was too awful to watch, too horrible to listen to without doubling over. It was like being forced to watch video of a child's athletic competition where you know that two childen will smash into each other at full speed over possession of a ball.

At last the ordeal ended. As Tanigaki bowed and walked backwards away from the microphone, I turned to my conservative companion and asked:

"How could anyone, anyone see in him a candidate for prime minister?"

My companion, without hesitation, responded in the flintiest of monotones:

"He will never be prime minister."

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