Monday, February 02, 2009

Too Kind

Over at Observing Japan, Tobias Harris sends a tip of the hat in my direction for the theory that Nakagawa Hidenao, a big political enchilada in every sense of the phrase, strains but does not break his link to the Liberal Democratic Party in order to continue pocketing public political party funding (seitō kōfukin) while opening up space for political maneuvering (seikyoku) both now and after the next House of Representatives election.

First, I am making a semi-educated guess here -- I do not know the content of Nakagawa's thinking. As Mr. Harris's post points out, Nakagawa heaps hot, heaving tons of opprobrium upon the Democratic Party of Japan, his potential coalition partners in a hung Diet with a disintegrated LDP. Normally one would want to make nice, even if only once in a while, so as to signal to one's potential partner that one is ready to cut a deal, when the time comes. Perhaps Nakagawa, by making the nastiest noises possible, is trying to raise the price he can demand from the DPJ in order to woo him.

Second, I am merely the borrower of an analytical tool, not its developer. The individual deserving recognition is Okumura Jun, who has homed in on the crucial role public political funds have played in preventing or promoting the formation of new parties (here is a classic example). Unlike your truly, Okumura-san has restricted his analysis to situations where the importance of political funding is pretty much indisputable.

All credit and praise belongs to Okumura-san.


Anonymous said...

Of course, the seifu kofukin system also points out the fundamental unseriousness of Watanabe Michio. His action - to leave the party in *January*, rather than before December 31st, was an option only available to someone who sits in Daddy's safe seat. The chances of being followed by others less fortunate were vanishingly small. If he really intended to cause a stink, he would have left in December.

His decision reminds me of Kato Koichi's famous failure of timing and gumption. Many fine words, but neither were really serious in going in for the kill.

Jun Okumura said...

Thank you for your kind, generous words, MTC, and for commenting on my blog. Yes, I try to keep it real, which is the basis of my entire blog, except when I’m shamelessly mugging for laughs. I’ve been surprised that the point hasn’t popped up in the mainstream media as a significant cause of the firming of the LDP ranks.

A point of clarification: I have not developed an analytical tool. It is more analogous to the identification of a regular topological feature in the political shoals. It is a given that both politicians and their minions on one hand and analysts and bloggers must take into account, each in his own way using the analytical tools most appropriate to their respective tasks. In that sense, it is no different from the general elections. The Lower House election, to push the analogy further, is a shifting sandbar.