Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Handing DPJ Strategy To The Contrarians

Yesterday, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Koshi'ishi Azuma announced that some of the party's most senior and experienced leaders will be charged with the mapping out of long-term party strategy. The areas which will be examined by these party advisors and senior party post holders will include foreign policy, energy policy, defense policy and reconstruction policy.

The first two appointments announced yesterday?

For Foreign Policy: Former Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio

For Energy Policy: Former Prime Minsister Naoto Kan

No, I am not making this up. (J)

The opinions of these two men differ from the prevailing status quo just about as much as one can imagine. Rather than being wary of China and close to the United States, the Hatoyama program is to position Japan in between the two giants, effectively meaning Japan's having more intimate relations with China and more distant relations with the United States.

As for Kan, his experience in trying to manage the consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster has made him an adamant foe of nuclear power and close friend of the renewable energy industry, particularly biofuels. His views run counter to the Noda government's so far very quiet push to rehabilitate nuclear power. (E)

It remains to be seen whether these appointments represent a Japanese version of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson's quip regarding J. Edgar Hoover or an honest attempt to integrate the contrarian views of these two senior politician into the pool of ideas that the party can draw upon when drafting its next electoral manifesto.

Let us say that this cynical would say it is the former, while the hopeful would pray it is the latter.


Climate Morio said...

Don't you find it a bit odd what "portfolios" these people have thought up? Why not taxation, for instance? Or pensions?

I think this reeks of a sop to potentially dangerous types. Shut them up with a high-visibility, "topical" field to pontificate about. Offering them other, equally relevant, but less "sexy" matters would probably come across as a faux pas. Plus, imagine what meddlesome Hatoyama and Kan would do if let loose to talk about, you know, how the use of the tax-yen should be adjusted?

MTC said...

Climate Morio -

Let us try out the positive view.

The matters of pensions and taxes are on the Diet's front burners. They cannot be handed out for strategic examination -- having a multiplicity of voices talking about them would gum up negotiations with the opposition.

As for the strategic advisory positions, they provide an official role for former prime ministers, who traditionally spend their time either napping in the upper tiers of the Diet or, in the case of Mori Yoshiro, making idiotic prognostications.