Party affiliations in the House of Representatives:
LDP = 304
New Komeito = 31
Total numbers of representatives in the ruling coalition = 335
2/3 of the members of the House of Representatives = 320
Number of dissenters needed to kill the gasoline tax upon the revote to held possibly on April 30 (April 29 is a national holiday. Will the Speaker of the House of Representatives be able to summon a quorum during Golden Week?) = 16
Kōno Tarō believes he can lead a limited rebellion against the road tribe in support of the Prime Minister's proposals on the road construction bills.
I think events will sweep past even Kōno's group thanks to Elections Measures Chairman Koga Makoto. His thinly veiled contempt for the Koizumi Kids seems ready to birth a monster.
The Koizumi Kids, the freshmen elected in 2005 on the wave of enthusiasm for Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichirō's promises of continued structural reform, are staring at defeat in the next elections. Many of them represent urban or suburban districts or are holding at-large proportional vote seats normally occupied by members of the Democratic Party. Given the current unpopularity of the government, the Koizumi Kids have only a tiny chance of retaining their seats.
Koga has not come straight out and said, "You are all freaks. I cannot spend a yen on you because you have zero chance at winning the next time around."
Instead, he has been deliberate, trying to make it seem as though he is agonizing over whether not to throw his weight behind the Koizumi Kids candidates. His insistence on selecting "candidates who can win" for the district seats and his favoritism toward the exiles (the LDP members expelled by Koizumi for their opposition to the privatization of the Post Office) has nevertheless made it clear that Koga considers the Koizumi Kids unworthy of cultivation and encouragement.
This is classic marginal return versus growth decisionmaking...a prudent marshalling of electoral resources toward nailing down a low-level target.
Only one problem, though...it is not election time yet. There are bills that still need to be passed using the two-thirds override provision.
For the Koizumi Kids, some of who are hardly children (Yosano Kaoru is one of them) the question to ponder over the next four weeks is:
"When the party is unlikely to support me, why should I support the party?"
Later - Okumura Jun not only does not agree with me, he thinks I am wrong, wrong, wrong.