Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In the Japan Times

The Japan Times has published an op-ed of mine on DPJ strategy.

You can find it here.

5 comments:

Derek Wessman said...

I enjoyed the op-ed a lot.

I think one thing the DPJ can do better is to emphasize the role of not only the LDP, but also the bureaucracy as a whole regarding the problems in which the Japanese people are most interested, such as pension problems and hepatitis C.

Certainly the LDP is culpable in these problems, but many Japanese still see the LDP as more likely to reform the bureaucracy, if only for their own gain. This is because the LDP still benefits from Koizumi's legacy of reformism, however diluted it has actually become within the LDP ranks. The DPJ would do well to take the mantle of bureacratic reform in a more public and decisive way. As it stands, I think the same old fears of Kasumigaseki running roughshod over a DPJ government remain in some voters' minds.

By being more vocal about bureaucratic problems (and who is better to lambast bureaucracy than Kan Naoto?), the DPJ can foster an image of trying to solve problems, more than one of simply trying to unseat the LDP.

Willie said...

I, too, enjoyed the op-ed. However, many of the suggestions for the DPJ I've heard sound like an appeal to use good government as a campaign approach. It remains to be seen how many voters care about such abstractions as bureaucratic reform. Instead, I would argue that discussion of reform might be better done with some simplistic platform along the lines of what Newt Gingrich did in the US.

Perhaps I just want to hear the advice of street-fighting political operatives, such as the US's James Carville, as opposed to those from a more academic background. The packagers for Tony Blair did a good job of selling New Labour, and might have suggestions that the DPJ could use.

Jun Okumura said...

I agree, Tobias. So is Mr. Ozawa becoming more of a problem than the answer?

Japan Observer said...

Jun,

It's hard to say. I think one factor in his favor is that he's probably the one figure acceptable to all factions. In other words, "He might be bad, but at least he's not [fill in the blank]." As we saw in November, I don't think the DPJ is ready to think about the post-Ozawa era just yet.

The wild card is the Japanese people. Will they be willing to hold their noses and vote for the DPJ, knowing that doing so could make Ozawa prime minister?

Bryce said...

Well spotted. Ozawa is so slippery that you can imaginne him holding any position - except for his foreign policy, where I think (and you'll disagree with me here, Tobias) he has been fairly consistent. So he's all things to all people.