Sunday, October 02, 2011

The LDP Decides Success Is Killing It

"If you blunder, don't give up fighting. After getting the advantage, your opponent may relax and let you escape."

- Bruce Pandolfini, from "The Ten Commandments of Chess"

Could someone please explain to me, in simple terms, so that I can understand it, what the heck has gotten into the Liberal Democratic Party these last two days?

First, LDP Party President Tanigaki Sadakazu shakes up his core leadership group, dumping Ishiba Shigeru as the chairman of the Policy Research Council, Koike Yuriko as the chairman of the General Council and Aizawa Ichiro as the Diet Affairs Chairman. He replaces Ishiba with Motegi Toshimitsu, the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy grad, former McKinsey man and former Waseda University Graduate School prof (OK, we get it: he's no dunderhead - Editor). Koike, the fireball who regularly plunks the Democratic Party of Japan in foreign newspapers without the DPJ ever knowing about it, he replaces with Shiotani Shionoya Ryu, another U.S.-educated member, though nothing nearly so high powered as Motegi. Aizawa, Prime Minister Noda's classmate in the first graduating class at the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, he replaces with Kishida Fumio, whose claims to fame are having served a five-year stint in the Long Term Credit Bank before becoming his father's secretary, eventually inheriting his father's seat (ja).

It was true that Ishiba and Koike lost an internal argument with Ishihara Nobuteru, the LDP's Secretary-General over how much the LDP could cooperate with the DPJ in responding to the nation's myriad problems. Ishiba and Koike, being rational, could not get their heads entirely wrapped around Tanigaki's wish to simultaneously "confront and cooperate with" (taisaku to kyoryoku) the DPJ.

Aizawa seems to have been dumped specifically because he is a Matsushita Seijuku grad, making him suspect when so many of his fellow alumni are serving in the Cabinet and the DPJ's secretariat.

Tanigaki was also under a great deal of pressure, it seems, from the old men in the party to appoint an executive more reflective of LDP traditions, that is to say, one major post for each of the main factions. Motegi is from the Nukaga Faction, Shiotani Shionoya from the Machimura Faction (the largest faction) and Kishida from the Koga Faction.

We will see how all these men do in their new posts. From the outside, this looks like change for change's sake, with some slight hint that the LDP might shift gears and cooperate more with the government.

Meanwhile in the House of Councillors, all hell is breaking loose in between the chairman of the House caucus Nakasone Hirofumi and a majority of the LDP's members in the upper house. Mistrusted Nakasone appointee Kosaka Kenji has been forced to resign as the LDP's House of Councillors Secretary-General and a slate of officers including Konosuke Yoshitada, Nakasone's anointed replacement for Kosaka, was rejected by a vote of the party's House of Councillors membership. In a power play similar to what has taken place around Tanigaki, the Machimura, Koga and Nukaga factions are pushing their own candidate to replace Kosaka (ja).

Unsurprisingly, the focus of the fight is now shifting away from the replacement of Kosaka to the unseating of Nakasone as the party's leader in the House of Councillors.

Former Prime Minister Kan Naoto must be wondering right now, as he is looking up from his reading on alternative energy sources,"Why couldn't they have fallen back into their old backstabbing ways during my tenure? What effect does Noda have on them that I could not have?"


Anonymous said...

The name is Shionoya, as furigana indicate in your link. I recommend the 国会便覧.

MTC said...

Anonymous -

Thank you for pointing out the error. My only excuse is that it was really late when I was writing the post.

I do have 国会便覧 but only back numbers so I can trace election results and careers.

Anonymous said...

Noda's only important attribute I feel is the fact that he has kept his head down on policy (cf Hatoyama)and is also keeping his head down on the personal as well (cf Kan). The longer he keeps this up, as uninspiring as it will be in terms of political leadership, the more likely it is that nature will take its course. I'd be trying my best right about now to light as many fires within the LDP as possible.