One other yr, one other Japanese prime minister. On Wednesday, it wasn’t simply Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s ineffective chief, who resigned. So did Ichiro Ozawa, secretary common of the Japan Democratic Occasion, the person credited with the mastermind behind the 2009 election victory that ended half a century of domination by the Liberal Democratic Occasion. The general public was determined to rid the nation of the PLD and provides the opposition an opportunity. However Hatoyama’s celebration has been a horrible disappointment.
As prime minister, he has wavered and thought aloud. His indecision was symbolized by his humiliating defeat over the relocation of the US navy base in Futenma. Solely that political miscalculation warranted resignation. As if that wasn’t dangerous sufficient, each he and Ozawa, the celebration’s “shadow shogun,” had been damage by the trickle of a political funding scandal.
At first look, his double resignation seems like an absolute catastrophe, each for the PDJ and for Japan. With out Ozawa, the PDJ is disadvantaged of its most astute strategist weeks earlier than an higher home election that would decide its capacity to move laws over the subsequent three years. As for Japan, evidently any hope for a brand new sort of politics has light. As a substitute, the nation has returned to the well-trodden path of political squalor and now-you-see-now-not-prime ministers.
There may be one other risk. With the departure of Hatoyama and Ozawa, Japan’s physique politic has been torn by two boils. That might go away the DPJ in a stronger place. The celebration has not been all dangerous. It has guided Japan sensibly by way of the financial disaster and has assumed bureaucratic privilege. He has additionally enacted some half-credible insurance policies geared toward eradicating Japan from dependence on exports, akin to paying a toddler allowance. A badly thought-out reversal of postal privatization could now fall by the wayside.
Which means, beneath the suitable management, the PDJ may probably hit the reset button. In Naoto Kan – finance minister and favourite to take over as celebration chief and subsequently prime minister – he has a politician with the potential to carry each the celebration and the nation collectively. Kan’s reputation dates again 15 years when, as a minister, he helped expose a tainted blood scandal. Since then, he has co-founded the DPJ and articulated pretty constant financial insurance policies, together with rising the excise tax to carry public debt beneath tighter management. If the subsequent PDJ chief can persuade the general public that he has a plan and that he’s following by way of, one thing good may come of this political farce.