Monday, March 12, 2007

Free-for-all in the LDP

I want to call attention to this post by Adamu at Mutantfrog Travelogue, which thoroughly dissects the prevailing circumstances of the Abe Cabinet, including Abe's recent quashing of rumors hinting at a cabinet reshuffle.

I just want to add a couple points to his cogent analysis.

The problem, I think, with the Abe Cabinet is the Koizumi inheritance. Abe not only has had to act in the shadow of his much more charismatic predecessor, but he has inherited a party that was only half-destroyed by Koizumi. The traditional power centers appear to have been weakened by Koizumi's push to create a more programmatic, dynamic party, but new mechanisms have yet to be established. Similarly, the younger generation -- most significantly Abe and Shiozaki -- have risen to positions of prominence in the party, but their precociousness has not made them capable of forging a centralized mechanism to complete the LDP's transition to a disciplined, programmatic party.

The other point is, of course, that whereas Koizumi (or Koizumi and Takenaka) had a program that they forced upon the LDP, Abe seems to have decided that it's less risky to substitute poorly explained slogans for an actual program, which, combined with his lack of charisma, has resulted in a vacuum at the top and plummeting popularity numbers, apparently now dipping below 40%.

Of course, a dysfunctional LDP run by callow youngsters may be better than a LDP ran by the old men, devoted to divvying up the spoils.

At the same time, however, Japan may be in for another period of prolonged political instability, as during the mid-1990s, because -- as Adamu notes -- no party enjoys the public's favor at present.

1 comment:

Ken said...

As inheritance, you didn't mention Taro Aso, by far the biggest hanger-on (or hangover) from the Koizumi administration. Have his attempts to form his own faction totally died off?