In what can only be described as an act demonstrating that all LDP internal discipline has collapsed, 50 zōhangumi (opponents of reform) legislators, including those returned from expulsion like Noda Seiko, gathered yesterday for the first meeting of the Postal Business Study Society (Yūsei Jigyō Kenkyūkai).
Attending the meeting as a guest was the chairman of the National Association of Private Postmasters - the Zenkoku Tokutei Yūbinkyoku Chōkai -- or Zentoku, for short.
T'is the sign of an LDP upon the brink.
Can it be less than a year and a half ago that Noda and her fellow exiles were readmitted to the party after lengthy and bitter discussions between the then Secretary-General Nakagawa Hidenao (Nakagawa the Sane) and unbending dead ender Hiranuma Takeo? Each of the eleven returnees signed a letter confessing a personal error in having opposed post office privatization and swearing allegiance to the new party line on postal reform.
Now they are meeting with the chairman of Zentoku, discussing legislation to modify the postal reform plan.
If this does not drive Koizumi Jun'ichirō, Nakagawa Hidenao and other reformers into paroxysms over the LDP's abandonment of the banner of reform--I do not know what will.
Which makes yesterday's other announcement all the more salient.