Wednesday, December 03, 2008

We Are Our Parents Revisited, Revised

Watanabe Yoshimi* was asked yesterday whether his incessant criticism of the administration of Prime Minister Asō Tarō and participation in nakedly anti-Asō activities such as Nakagawa Hidenao's study group on the pension system (or the new study group started yesterday dedicated to the preservation of the transfer of the gasoline levy receipts to the general fund) were not the preamble to his bolting from the LDP.

His response on TV Asahi last night, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun:


"(In response to my criticisms of the Prime Minister) They have already started telling me 'So get the hell out of the Liberal Democratic Party then!' If they keep on saying this to me, it is not impossible that that is exactly what will happen."
Like father, like son.

As reported in The New York Times of April 18, 1994:

A longtime leader of the former governing party said today that he was defecting in a bid to become Prime Minister and would create an alliance with the rocky coalition now running the country.

The announcement by former Foreign Minister Michio Watanabe added to the current political turmoil and dealt a potentially crippling blow to the Liberal Democratic Party, which governed Japan for 38 years with little challenge.

Mr. Watanabe, 70, said he was bolting from the party with an unspecified number of followers. He has been ill for some time with what is widely believed to be cancer and is said to view this as his last chance at the premiership. Political analysts said that Mr. Watanabe's chances of succeeding were slim, and that the most likely choice for Prime Minister remained Tsutomu Hata, the current Foreign Minister.

First to Abandon Ship

The turmoil follows the resignation nine days ago of Morihiro Hosokawa, who came to office last summer promising broad political and economic reforms but was forced out because of a financial scandal.

Even if Mr. Watanabe does not become Prime Minister, his decision today is likely to speed the slow disintegration of the Liberal Democratic Party. That process began last summer when a reform-minded group within the party bolted and brought down the Government...
In the end, "Micchi" was unable to convince members of his faction that they could trust the promises of the duplicitous Ozawa Ichirō-- who had courted Watanabe into defecting with assurances that he would become Prime Minister. Watanabe was forced to retract his bid to bolt from the LDP; Hata became the head of a laughably short-lived minority government; the Socialists did what Ozawa had never, ever considered possible--gripped the outstretched hand of the beseeching, falling LDP; and Murayama Tomi'ichi became Prime Minister of a matter/anti-matter coalition government comprised of the LDP, the Socialists and the Sakigake.

T'will be fascinating to see how far Watanabe the Younger wants to push the boundaries of recursion.

Did I fail to mention that Watanabe Yoshimi has long been on the short list of younger politicians thought to be good future candidates for the prime ministership?

* Yes, I have been struck by his resemblance to Scooter the Muppet as well.


Anonymous said...

"Nakedly Aso"? Ooooo it makes me feel so dirty, but methinks you made a typo...actually a few...spank you!

MTC said...

Anonymous -

Thank you for spotting the errors in my typing, if not the errors of my ways.

Jun Okumura said...

I’m not so sure about that, MTC. Watanabe’s prospects, that is. He has refreshing candor, as well as remarkable common sense once you get past his Muppetty looks and persona. But he’s always come across as something of a lightweight and, at the ripe old age of 55, lacks a power base within the party ranks. I don’t see him abandoning ship any time soon, but if he does so, my guess is he’ll be doing so on his own. Let us know if it looks otherwise from your neck of the woods.