Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Damage Assessment

What I got absolutely right:

* LDP Secretary General - Nakagawa Hidenao
* Special Advisor on North Korean Abductions - Nakayama Kyōko
* Defense Agency - Kyūma Fumio
* Ōbuchi Yūko would not get a post
* That of all his very visible women supporters in the Diet (referred to in the popular literature as The Cheerleaders) Takaichi Sanae would get a Cabinet post
* Two members of the House of Councillors would be named to the Cabinet – (Aoki Mikio gave this one away, so it does not really count)

What I got sort of right:

* Shiozaki Yasuhisa was in line for a power position
* Yamamoto Yūji would be in charge of income disparities
* Aso Tarō was one of three candidates for Foreign Ministry post
* Nikai Toshihirō would be in a sensitive post requiring a dove
* The Minister for the Environment would be a throwaway position
* Hakuo Yanagisawa, Nakagawa Shōichi, Ishihara Nobuteru and Shimomura Hakubun would get significant posts-just not the ones I predicted
* As noted previously, a faction head would be named Chairman of the General Council and a Koizumi Cabinet member would be made Chairman of the Policy Research Council
* The Minister of Justice would be some old guy no one has ever heard of (in Japanese politics, 62 is not old)
* There would be one Cabinet member who is not a politician (not that Ota Hiroko has not been a fixture in government for years)

What I got completely wrong:

* Yosano Kaoru would be in the Cabinet
* The Komeito would want the Health, Labor and Welfare portfolio back – the party is quite happy to keep control of the Ministry of Environmental Desecration
* Yamamoto Ichita – would get something for his pains. What a waste of a summer!

What I cannot believe:

* Omi Kōji is in the Cabinet again. Heck, I did not even know he was still alive and kicking
* That Abe could squeeze all the factions except one into the Cabinet, a top party post or in the Kantei—oh, and of course, it's not like he stacked the deck or anything with all these peculiar “Minister of State” positions, the five Special Advisors to the Prime Minister and a trio of non-active-bureaucrat Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries

Note on correction: This post originally said that Abe managed to get all the factions into the Cabinet. That was not correct--the Tanigaki faction got stiffed.

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