Friday, May 28, 2010

That's All Folks! (Fukushima Mizuho Edition)

NHK has just announced that Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio has relieved (himen) Minister for Consumer Affairs and Declinining Birthrate Fukushima Mizuho of her ministerial postings.

Hatoyama spent all day trying to convince the Social Democratic Party's leader to reverse her stance on the government's plan to move elements of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko. To every entreaty Fukushima replied that if the government's proposal named Henoko or any other place inside Okinawa Prefecture as the destination of the forces currently at Futenma, she would refuse to sign the document. Furthermore, if asked to resign, she would refuse to do so.

Faced with the prospect of the plan's not winning the status of a Cabinet Decision -- and having issued a joint statement with the United States on the outlines of the plan on a few hours earlier, the prime minister was left with no other choice but sacking his stubborn minister and coalition party leader.

The Cabinet will now meet sans Fukushima to approve the plan.

Having had to rely on forceful methods to pass a significantly unpopular plan, the prime minister's problems are only just beginning. He has a plan which his remaining non-DPJ minister, People's New Party leader Kamei Shizuka, has repeatedly stated is unrealizable. He has retreated from every position he has taken over the last nine months, driving the people of Okinawa to the edge of fury and the rest of the country over the edge of exasperation.

The contrast between himself, the constant and in the end unfulfilled waverer, and Minister Fukushima, who stuck by her guns all the way to the bitter end, could not be more stark.

Sic transit gloria mundi...


Jan Moren said...

I get a feeling Fukushima and the SDP is going to get a lot more mileage out of this in the upcoming election than Hatoyama.Instead of solving the coalition problem, it may in fact exacerbate it. If the DPJ loses enough seats, and if the SDP manages to actually pick up one or two (could happen, I think) then even an unholy coalition with the New Komeito would not be enough to get those small parties off the DPJ's back.

It's not a very probable scenario to say the least, but now it's at least conceivable now that Hatoyama's successor will eventually have to give the SDP power over the base relocation issue the same way that whatshisname got to decide over postal reform as condition for his support.

Anonymous said...

So the question is why Washington have undermined Hatoyama so effectively that they will be forced to negotiate with a ragtag of leftie parties for the next three years. This seems a little shortsighted.

American Salaryman said...

Standing by your principles is good and it's refreshing to see that in a Japanese politician. However, for all the bitching Fukushima did, never once did I see her give an idea or plan of where to move the base. Nothing but vague affirmations that it should be moved off Okinawa. In a way, that makes her more annoying to me then Hateyama at this point.

PaxAmericana said...


I'm not a big SDP supporter, but I thought their whole idea was to lower the US military footprint in Japan. That being the case, we could assume the idea is that cutting US personnel by, say, 50% would obviate the need for this plan. Also, if the Japanese government cut its spending on the US military by 50%, the US wouldn't want all of the money used on Futenma.

Depending upon how you view it, you could see the DPJ as crazy, brilliant, reckless, or perhaps even fiscally sane in a world of politicians heading towards bankruptcy.