Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The feeling is mutual

MTC reports on comments by Koga Makoto and Suga Yoshihide, the LDP's chief and deputy election strategists regarding the possibility of a general election around the new year.

MTC notes that Nikkei believes that this scheme is connected with the desire of New Komeito's leadership not to have to vote on the latest enabling law for the MSDF refueling mission. MTC concludes that the LDP is unlikely to act out of charity to its junior partner, and will instead use Komeito's campaign machine and then break the partnership following the election.

If Shukan Shincho is to be believed, Komeito is no more eager to retain its partnership after the election than the LDP.

An article headlined "The LDP has finally been abandoned by Soka Gakkai's Ikeda Daisaku" in the July 24 issue of Shukan Shincho chronicles a series of recent remarks by current and former Komeito and Soka Gakkai officials expressing their dissatisfaction with the coalition and their willingness to consider a partnership with the DPJ.

Given the number of reasons for Komeito to be dissatisfied with the LDP — including not just their differing foreign policy views but the LDP's perceived indifference to the plight of Japan's elderly — I would question the political sense of Komeito's leaders if they weren't dissatisfied with their party's partnership with the LDP and searching for a way out.

Accordingly, the next general election campaign, says the article, will be the coalition's last. Komeito will adhere to the coalition to the last, but will look to jump from the LDP's side, especially if its support could make the difference in the DPJ's coming to power.

In light of both parties' dissatisfaction with their coalition, it is worth asking whether either party will be campaigning particularly hard for the other's candidates in a general election campaign. Will Komeito voters buck the party and vote for DPJ candidates over LDP candidates, or not vote at all?


Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that Komeito is so dissatisfied with the LDP that it is considering jumping ship to join the opposition, especially after having influenced the decision not to commit SDF ground forces to Afghanistan (Don't expect Japanese troops in Afghanistan). It is probably true as you say that Komeito which is associated with the Buddhist association, Sokka Gakkai, is most at odds with the hawkish foreign policy of its coalition partner, but the Afghanistan decision shows that this did not prevent it from changing the direction of a crucial policy question. There is a need for restrospective reflection in politics to prevent emotions from clouding judgment and this is a good example.

MTC said...

One has to love the title of the interview of Takagi Yosuke, the New Komeito's Election Measure Chairman in the July 25, morning edition of The Asahi Shimbun:

"'Jiko ga tozen' de wa nai: seisaku, minshuto to mo hanashiau"

"'LDP-New Komeito' is not 'a given': as for policy, we are talking the DPJ too."