Former Environment and briefly Defense Minister Koike Yuriko (literally "Little Pond Lily Girl") --whose possible candidacy for the prime ministership has been labeled a media fantasy by former Prime Minister Mori Yoshirō -- seems nevertheless to be preparing for a possible sloughing off the LDP in yet another immaculate political ecdysis*.
Koike, whose career has given "rapid shifts of party allegiance in Japanese politics" a whole new meaning, is doing an astoundingly rapid build out of the interesting meeting of April 9 where she dined with former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichirō, Motegi Toshimitsu and others--the precursor of the projected monthly meetings being organized by former Toyota Chairman Okuda Hiroshi .
Last night, following a speech on the environment, Koike had a very interesting comment about her "buddies" (nakama) that bears translation:
"Me, I'm originally from the Japan New Party. I have buddies in the LDP and the DPJ. Though we are apart, we are pointed in the same direction: we must change Japan. If we fulfill our role turning of events around (butai mawashi) in the manner of adults, like we know how to do..."
She also purportedly complimented her former colleagues as individuals who could put aside political gamesmanship (seikyoku) in favor what is good for the nation.
The Japan New Party...hmmmm...oh, the memories...an LDP-busting center-left party that snatched 35 seats in the historic July 1993 House of Representatives election, propelling its leader Hosokawa Morihiro into the prime ministership and pulling Koike out of the sleepy political parking lot that was the House of Councillors.
Anybody of that party still around, now that Hosokawa has switched his energies over to the production of ceramics?
Well, let uss ssssseeeee here.
There is Koike and
Motegi (LDP) who is the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Labour and Welfare
Minister of the Environment Kamoshita Ichirō (LDP)
Special Advisor the Prime Minister Itō Tatsuya (LDP)
former Democratic Party Leader Maehara Seiji
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Audit and Oversight of the Administration Edano Yukio (DPJ)
Speaker of the House of Councillors Eda Satsuki (DPJ - currently in suspension)...
Looks like a decent bunch of well-respected centrists whose loyalty to their respective party leaders is...uncertain?
Couple this with former Prime Minister Koizumi having purportedly "ants in his pants" (oshiri ga muzu muzu shite iru)--at least according to Koike (no tittering from the peanut gallery, please) about the way his successors have mishandled reform--I would not be too sure that Koizumi will be willing to help out the LDP candidate in the Yamaguchi #2 election.
[That the kind of help several in the LDP want Koizumi to extend is to become the lightning rod for anger at the start of the automatic pension deductions for elder care--at a time when the government is underpaying many seniors through having lost track of their pension accounts--is another reason I think it unlikely he will trek on down to the Iwakuni area this week.]
I would also, if I were in a position of power in the LDP right now, be very suspicious of Koizumi's advice. I would also not be taking at face value the nodding agreement of Koizumi fellow travelers Nakagawa Hidenao and Takebe Tsutomu that passing the gasoline tax bill using the override provision is a simply smashing idea.
* The use of the word "ecdysis" in this post is dedicated to Coco Masters's use of the word "micturition" in a TIME general interest article on Japan last week.