Thursday, June 03, 2010

Tell Me I Am Dreaming

Here is the main schedule for the time remaining before the House of Councillors elections, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun:

June 4

- Joint meeting of the Democratic Party of Japan members of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors to elect a new party leader

- Special plenary sessions of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors to elect a new prime minister (in case of different persons winning in each House, the decision of the House of Representatives takes precedence)

- New prime minister unveils his/her Cabinet

[Yes, you read it right. All three in one day.]

June 7

Prime Minister's Policy Address to the Diet

June 12

Prime Minister pays official visit to the Shanghai World's Fair (tentative)

June 16

End of Regular Diet Session

June 24

Opening of the official campaign period for the House of Councillors elections (projected)

June 25-27

Prime visits Canada and attends the G8 Summit

July 11

House of Councillors Elections

I have to admit: if one set out with the intention to draw all attention away from the campaign efforts of opposition parties, one could hardly devise a more tightly packed and distracting schedule.

I also see do not see how either the revisions to postal reform bill or the revisions of the laws governing the dispatch of contract labor will make it out of the House of Councillors by the currently projected June 16 deadline.

15 comments:

sigma1 said...

Am I the only one who thinks this is all going a little bit too smoothly :-)

Anonymous said...

I also see do not see how either the revisions to postal reform bill...will make it out of the House of Councillors by the currently projected June 16 deadline.

This is a feature, not a bug. With any luck the next administration will rethink this poorly-thought-out plan.

Climate Morio said...

@ Anonymous:

Mmmyeah, but there are other laws out there that ought not be postponed, like the Basic Law on Global Warming. During the current Diet session it could still be passed, it's anybody's best guess after the next one! If all the micro-parties mop up the seats the DPJ will lose, it ain't gonna be pretty. A DPJ-Komeito alliance would be a nice thing to have, but what happens if Ozawa splits the party down the middle, or if the electoral math somehow allows the LDP to draw all the small parties in an coalition with itself?! The prospects for such a law passing quickly diminish.

I was wondering if somebody could enlighten me about how exactly comitology works in Japan. I understand that the committee head in the House of the Councilors is LDP - does he have the ability to somehow postpone the law until after the elections? Also, what can theoretically be done if the Councilors reject a bill that has been passed by the Representatives?

...i never had to think about such things with the LDP. :D Gosh, i will have start using my brain a whole lot more!

sigma1 said...

Ok, with Maehara and Okada falling so quickly behind Kan, I really am starting to wonder if this has been planned for a while. Gal on twitter mentioned that Koizumi predicated this double step down in June months ago. Koizumi is smart operator too, some may say!

I agree with anon. on the Postal Revision bill. I also agree with Climate Morio. That said, I suspect many in the DPJ are far less enthused about the Postal Bill than the Global Warming bill. I think it has such wide public support that I would be surprised if it didn't go through first or second bill back after the election. Also if Okada has backed Kan so decisively, then I guess we could read something into that since Okada is probably the most environmentally sensitive person in cabinet.

To further allay your fears - the most environmental friendly viable option for a post-election coalition is as you say, DPJ-Komeito. If there is poor voter turnout, Komeito will probably pick up a few more seats. DPJ probably does not lose too many seats in this scenario. A higher turnout than expected under Hatoyama-Ozawa could be a bad thing, but in this case I suspect it might not be so bad for DPJ - I am not convinced that the LDP has any ability to pick up undecideds and now the micro parties will struggle to campaign on a singular hatred of Ozawa and a disdain for Hatoyama. The electoral math works against the DPJ losing more than 5-6 seats I think. 115 for DPJ now, so worst case lets say 105 afterwards. Komeito currently 21, likely if anything to go up =126. In 241 seat house 121 is the majority.

As for the Ozawa split - I am less convinced about his hold over the mass of newbies than others, but anyway, Ozawa is probably only likely to throw his toys if Maehara becomes PM. Maehara has put his faith in Kan, who is probably, in Ozawa's mind, more Ozawa friendly than most other senior people in the cabinet. So I think "your" bill is safe :-)

So on the basis of what I have written above, I only earnestly wait to be proven tragically and humiliatingly wrong!

Anonymous @11:20 said...

Mmmyeah, but there are other laws out there that ought not be postponed, like the Basic Law on Global Warming.

I don't disagree. If the ruling coalition had used the time they spent fussing over Futenma, the relaxed lending law and the postal reform bill they could have passed that and several other important bills.

PaxAmericana said...

Yes, this is going too smoothly.

A side topic, but in the comments.

Is the Komeito seen as being pro-environment? Why?

Why is Okada seen as being pro-environment?

Is this Global Warming bill different from the ones promoted by the Enrons and Goldman-Sachs so fervently? In other words, does this help create a paper trading system for environmental indulgences that will have all the front running, derivatives, and high-frequency trading we've all come to know and love?

sigma1 said...

@Pax

I myself have wonder if ETS' could lead to similar sorts of speculation and bureaucratic shenanigans. But I am not an expert so I will reserve judgement.

That said, Komeito are not necessarily pro-environment as such but certainly not going to stand in the way of THIS bill. Other minor parties, who knows. Okada is certainly interested in environmental issues more than other members of cabinet - he was the one that came up with the suggestion for Japan to cut its CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020 which was subsequently adopted by the DPJ and announced at the UN by Hatoyama.

Joe said...

I'm really interested in seeing the new cabinet lineup. Will Okada and Maehara stay in the same portfolios, or have they been promised something more in return for their support?

An I pray to Amaterasu that they kick Kamei to the curb. That guy is waaay more trouble than he's worth.

Anonymous said...

It's all about saving face you know

Those same ole codgers will still be there, and you call that change? No way Jose lol! This is just simply about shuffling of the cards and you still get that Joker (babachan) leading the pack! It's like a stopped up toilet I tell ya, 最悪だよ!

Yup it's that screwy over here folks

Anonymous said...

Kamei needs to go I agree there!
He's a royal pest alright

PaxAmericana said...

Sigma,

I've seen almost no evidence of any environmental ideas or concern in Japanese politics, other than the Futenma question. But then I'm a cynic about the motives behind the Global Warming industry. Setting that aside, though, what is there? Does Okada propose a 50% tax credit for donations to environmental groups? Do Komeito want to increase National Parks and fund them?

If Kan proposes an increase in the consumption tax as being environmentally friendly, I might get sick.

Anonymous said...

Pax sir with Japan's dangerously swelling mountain of debt, raising the tax is just needed here unless you know of much better ways to reduce the alarming bleeding debt here? For starters, 97 airports is just insane! Cut at least 70% of those stupid excess airports! Japan only needs 20 airports total max!
Please we are really that stupid?? I hope not!

Making the money more than losing it is another possible way to reduce the debt. And going from rich to poor will only make this much much worse and you know what I really completely blame the Japanese for this BS, it's nobody else's fault but them! もう経済が地獄におちっただよ! 困るよ! doshomonai yo! ばかたれがさえてい!怠け者の問題です!

Taxes are still though a necessity period anywhere, such as, for maintaining roads, to paying for police/fire services, hospitals, schools, utilities, etc. It would just be impossible to have a world without taxes sorry and with Japan's fiscal issue increasing the tax increase seems to be the only way!

Would most certainly like the minimum wage to be increased for example and since people are living past a 100 now increase the retirement age from 65 to 70 maybe?

And introduction of the daylight savings time here wouldn't hurt either since being Green is the way to go!

And job growth to lower the unemployment rate

With Futenma, look I'm tired of this bologna man too! It's not that hard people! DEFENSE! Yeah it's needed because without it well then do let Japan develop it's own defenses for cry sakes if that's what they want but golly oh no the world will not let that happen because people still simply cannot trust the Japanese about that yet! Or won't let Japan return the powers to the Empire!

Self defense is a natural right you know, it's even written in the U.S Constitution Second Amendment and Japan's too! So, I have to ask, if someone were to literally smash your car now with a baseball bat, you would just sit there and do nothing and not defend your own piece of property?
Futenma is needed if Japan cannot develop its defenses 分かったか?
People you need to learn the Texan way!
Japan you just can't be a pussy anymore! It's a fiercely competitive world either win it or lose it period!  

Climate Morio said...

@Pax Americana:

The Basic Law is not an idea native to Japan. I am sure that everybody here knows that there are yearly negotiations on climate change organized by the UNFCCC. Japan is pretty bad shape in terms of its responsibilities under the Kyoto Protocol and until the seiken koutai it was one of the most conservative countries in the negotiations.

I think that the DPJ picked up on the issue while trying to figure out how to brand itself differently from the LDP. They had come out already in April '09 with a proposal to put Japan's -25% reduction target for 2020 into law. I have it on good word that this goal was adopted after much lobbying from Japanese green NGOs, which mostly take their cues from their global headquarters.

So, in short: Yes, this bill is IMPORTANT and it is as un-Enron-y and un-Goldman-Sachs-y as Japanese politics will allow. There is a LOT of institutional inertia in Japan favouring simply crossing one's arms and saying "There is nothing we can do about climate change" - and without this law i am afraid that Japan will simply drift back to that position by default.

Anonymous said...

Now you think North Korea is just sitting there watching us jackin around about such silliness I mean really guys this is very serious business man! This is nothing to be futzing around with, and good mighty God it's like this world is just totally on crack!! God help us all!

Anonymous said...

Um geeze yeah well the stupidity has really just gone way too far, check this out! This don't look good you all!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100603/wl_nm/us_korea_north_war