MC - It's the smart move. Hashimoto was always smarter.
So it begins.
Hashimoto issues call to create new party
The Japan Times
By Setsuko Kamiya, Staff Writer - Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - Former Kochi Gov. Daijiro Hashimoto said Tuesday he will form a political group with an eye to creating a new political party that will work to decentralize governmental power.
Hashimoto, a half brother of the late Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said he hopes to launch the new party in time for the next Lower House election.
"People's lives do not exist in the Nagata-cho or Kasumigaseki districts," said Hashimoto, referring to the neighborhoods where the Diet and the government bureaucracy are situated. "They exist in the local communities. This system where the central government controls everything needs to be exterminated."
Hashimoto said his policy plan works to transfer more tax revenue and administrative power to local governments while leaving responsibility for international affairs and national security in the hands of the central government. He also said the central government should shape the policies for ensuring people's livelihoods and boosting economic growth...
Now the let's-make-a-deal, so-it's policy-you-wants free-for-all starts.
Hiranuma Takeo, the Sith Lord of Japanese politics, should be kicking himself with a booted foot. His announcement of the formation of a new party, long threatened, was supposed to trigger the avalanche of realignment.
Instead, he gets pipped by Hashimoto Daijirō, one of the most consistently popular politicians around, pushing for deregulation--a subject which he, a former governor, actually cares about--unlike some commissions we could mention.
What a Hashimoto-led party lacks in strength right now it can more than make up in sense later. From all indications, Hashimoto understands decentralization, both why it is necessary and how it should be done.
Whether sensible policies sensibly carried out can be an electoral winner is a question. The national injury sob story of the revisionist right tugs at the heartstrings of persons on either side of the urban vs. rural divide, the most obvious social division in the archipelago. It has a proven track record as a vote-getter on the national scale.
For at least today, however, the "Hiranuma Conservative Party" spectre has to cede the camera to a less maudlin political project. If the announcement of the formation of Hiranuma's party comes too soon after this announcement, it could even be portrayed as a "rushed response to the Hashimoto challenge."
Hiranuma, who has been noodling about in round after round of ryotei politics, discussing realignment with Japan New Party leader Watanuki Tamisuke and New Daichi Party leader Suzuki Muneo over very expensive meals in exclusive traditional eateries, has blown his chance to be the first out of the blocks.
Then again, a person with an obvious contempt for so many would hardly understand the concept of product rollout and the importance of being first-to-market, now would he?
Later - Oh darn. Tobias Harris of Observing Japan has been bitten by the classic American film bug too.