In a long post over at Sigma1, Corey Wallace lays out an explanation for the most baffling political conundrum in quite a while: the sudden stated willingness on the part of the Liberal Democratic Party to cooperate with the Democratic Party of Japan on the passage of the two pieces of legislation Prime Minister Kan Naoto has said must pass before he will resign.
In Wallace's telling of the tale, current market turmoil may have played a part in forcing the DPJ on the one hand and the LDP and the New Komeito on the other to think seriously about how their parochial fighting might be endangering Japan's credibility. However, the primary reason a deal is being worked out is that top leaders in the LDP, in particular Secretary-General Ishihara Nobuteru and Vice President Tadamori Oshima, saw a need for the LDP to pre-empt the New Komeito's cutting a deal of its own with the DPJ.
Now the LDP and the New Komeito are bossom buddies and have stuck together through some tough times. There was furthermore no obvious indication that the New Komeito was thinking about cutting a deal with the DPJ, trading a DPJ-People's New Party-New Komeito majority in the House of Councillors (and a supermajority in the House of Representatives) in return for a solemn promise to not hold elections for significant span of time. However, the possibility that the New Komeito might be wondering what it is that it is gaining by continuing its cooperation with the LDP -- and what it might gain if it sided with the DPJ -- forced the LDP leadership into throwing in the towel on the policy of constant confrontation with the DPJ.
Makes sense to me.
Later - If you want an analogy, think of the LDP and the New Komeito as two gunslingers, riding through the badlands, when they come to a point where the canyon has become so narrow, only one rider can proceed through at a time. The LDP turns to the New Komeito and says, "You are my friend and I trust you. You and I have been riding alongside one another for a long time. However, if I ride ahead, you could just shoot me in the back. In order to preserve our friendship, what I am going to do is go ahead and shoot myself in the back first, so you don't feel you have to."
How likely is constitutional change in Japan?
22 hours ago