All right, accentuate the positive.
- The Americans should be pleased. The new Minister of Defense is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, as is Motegi Toshimitsu the new Minister of Financial Services, Administrative Reform and Public Officials System Reform. (Public Policy is at the Kennedy School, yes?)
- The appointment of Sasakawa Yōhei's second son Sasakawa Takashi to be Chairman of the General Council will give conspiracy theorists just hours of fun. (For example, is he really named after the Yao Emperor?)
- Amaterasu bless the Prime Minister for naming Tanigaki Sadakazu Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Nothing could make the passage of legislation transferring the gasoline tax revenues from unneeded road construction into the general fund more certain.
- Naming Nakayama Kyoko the Minister in Charge of Falling Birth Rates probably will not stimulate an increased production of future taxpayers. However, naming her "Minister of State for Abduction Issues," raising the portfolio to ministerial status, will keep the right wingers away from the door. It will make at least appear that the government cares about the issue.
- Judging from the responses he gave at the press conference introducing him as the new Minister of Finance, the Imaginary Restaurant Worker is going to drive the journalists in the Finance Ministry kisha club to drink or worse.
You know Ibuki-san, your responses start to lose their punch at around the seventeenth paragraph.
- Noda Seiko deserves better than to be the one midwifing the birth of the Consumer Protection Agency (Cue Marlon Brando: "And I refused to be a fool dancing on the strings held by all of those big shots. That's my life I don't apologize for that. But I always thought that when it was your time that you would be the one to hold the strings. Foreign Minister Noda. Prime Minister Noda. Something...").
True, consumer protection is one of her policy playgrounds...but she deserved better than this.
- Not one Koizumi loyalist was picked. Either the dinosaurs are trying to keep them out of the spotlight or they realize that the Koizumi Kids cannot be trusted. Either way, the Koizumi reformers come out the winners...and by winning I mean avoiding being set up for slaughter in the next election.
No amount of positive thinking can counteract an immense sense of letdown. Aside from the departure of Hatoyama Kunio (hurray!) there is little in this reshuffle that reassures the public that the Cabinet is reenergized and ready to tackle the nation's problems. If anything the appointment of a panorama of embarrassingly familiar wrinkled, male faces could drive the Cabinet support numbers down in the weekend telephone polls.
Later - The Kōmeitō's been given charge of the environment. Why? Environmental protection has heretofore never been their bag.