The East Asia Forum has published my essay examining the fallout from the high court decisions on the unconstitutionality of the December 2012 election. (Link)
Yesterday, the secretaries-general of the parties gathered in the Diet to discuss the ruling coalition's new district map and electoral reform plan, both of which flesh out the ingenious and craven +0/-5 solution. The ruling coalition plans to submit a reform bill for a Cabinet Decision on April 12. After that, the bill will be submitted to the Diet. Given the supermajority the ruling coalition holds in the House of Representatives, the bill will pass into law even if the House of Councillors rejects it.
The response of opposition attendees at yesterday's meeting to the ruling coalition's presentation: "Go jump in a lake." (Link - J)
This morning on the TBS morning show Asa Zuba! Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Ishiba Shigeru was in full damage control/take no prisoners mode.
Ishiba's intransigent defense of the +0/-5 plan and the Council on House of Representative Electoral Districts map in the face of persistent questioning came not only from his position as the day-to-day leader of LDP, though. He also has a personal stake in the passage of minimalist reforms.
Ishiba represents Tottori District #1. Tottori Prefecture is one of the five prefectures losing a seat under the +0/-5 solution. However, due to the prefecture's minuscule population, even the cutting back of one seat leaves Tottori voters overly represented in the Diet (under current law, all prefectures send at least two members to the House of Representatives). Tiny Tottori, under a more equitable system, would only have one.
Ishiba would probably be the top vote winner in his prefecture whether there were two races or only one. However, politics in prefectures with few inward migrants and small populations is very much person-to-person -- and the LDP Way is all about making voters feel special and in control.
Ishiba already has a reputation for being too free in displaying of disdain for needs of his nominal equals. He does not need to add to it.
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