At a press conference today Amari Akira (Kanagawa #13) one of prime minister Asō Tarō's closest ideological allies, uttered the phrase that -- if the fates of Abe Shinzō and Fukuda Yasuo are any guide -- is prime ministerial kryptonite.
"The responsibilities of Yosano Kaoru -- who is simultaneously Minister of Finance, Financial Services and Economy & Fiscal Policies -- these must be unraveled. At that time we can have a mini-Cabinet reshuffle. One option is to make the scale of the mini-Cabinet reshuffle really bold.*"First, a "mini Cabinet reshuffle" that is "really bold"? What kind of oxymoronic nonsense is that?
Second, Amari-san, aren't you yourself simultaneously the Ministers of
1) Regulation Reform (kisei kaikaku)
2) Administrative Reform (gyōsei kaikaku)
3) Reform of the Civil Service System (kōmuin seido kaikaku)
without your head exploding from overwork? (Nice hair, by the way.)
You would not be, by any chance, trying to diminish the rising profile of the multi-tasking Yosano Kaoru, at whom even hard-bitten Socialist lady ex-felons are waving their hankerchiefs?
Well, if that was your purpose, you blew it Amari-san. The papers smell blood in the water when a sitting minister suggests that the Cabinet is out of whack and needs fixing. Your words have made the sharks of the information mediaplex especially excited because
1) the PM is out of town (Did I say something about the cat being away?)
2) the last two Cabiner reshuffles preceded spectacular collapses the Abe and Fukuda premierships within weeks of their having been undertaken
Cabinet reshuffle talk is the province of covetous layabouts on the outside wanting to get in, Amari-san. The job of the Minister is to serve faithfully and steadfastly until fired.
What Latin phrase could the PM say (he is a Roman Catholic, you know) when he sees you next, Amari-san? Perhaps,
"Et tu Akira?"
Sure, one could argue that Amari is just being realistic. Yosano has been given the jobs of three ministers. It strains credulity to think that one human could be in charge of the entire government finance, economic planning and financial regulatory systems.
Unfortunately, when the PM and his Cabinet are knocking on the single digit popularity door (in the polls conducted by Mainichi and the Sankei) talk of reshuffle will inevitably be interpreted as a member of the prime minister's inner circle losing hope.
* "Mini kaizō no kibo o daitan na mono ni suru no wa, hitotsu no sentakushi."