Update @ 19:00 - Using the majority it holds in the House of Councillors, the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic and the New Komeito voted down the motion of censure against Consumer Affairs Minister Mori Masako. In a further harassing action to prevent consideration of the Official Secrets Bill, the Democratic Party of Japan has submitted a motion of no confidence in the House of Representatives. The motion has no hope of passage. However, all House of Representatives action is suspended until the no confidence measure is voted down.
It is so wonderful being wrong.
Despite or perhaps because of an unsightly railroading of the Official Secrets Bill through committee of the House of Counicillors, the goverment had to abandon its plans of voting on the bill in plenary session today. Faced with the procedural blockage of the submission of a motion of censure of Minister of Consumer Affairs Mori Masako, the secrets bill's sherpa, the ruling coalition has decided to extend the Diet session to the 9th, in order to have the extra time necessary to pass the bill.
The extension has risks for the goverment. Public protest against the bill has been rising at an exponential rate, with long-dormant civil society suddenly finding a reason to wake up and say "No" to Abe & Company. Performing artists ("Yoshinaga Sayuri!" the scandal rags shouted yesterday, an indication of the government's peril, having roused Japan's greatest actress to come out forcefully against the law), writers, lawyers and local and prefectural assemblies (Okinawa's prefectural assembly joined Fukushima's yesterday in passing a motion against the bill) are finding common cause against the incipient law.
This could be a wild weekend - with possible burgeoning marches and demonstrations.
If the Abe government prevails in the passage of the bill on the 9th, it may find the victory Pyrrhic. It has taken its eye off the economy and economic policy -- its supposed most important foci. It has given a skeptical public a reason to fear and loathe the Liberal Democratic Party. Come the next election, the LDP and its disgraced ally the New Komeito may find themselves again on the street -- this only after an election in July that made them seem bullet proof.
As for Abe himself, he must imagining himself leading the second coming of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, with the him replaying the role of his grandfather, dragging a kicking and screaming country into a new era of security and prosperity.
If does, he has fallen prey to the worst of vices of any leader: believing his own PR nonsense.
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