Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Kan!

Kan Naoto has been elected head of the DPJ and is line to become Japan's ninety-fourth prime minister this afternoon. He received 291 votes to Tarutoko Shinji's 129.

(Image by Kenji-Baptiste OIKAWA and used under a Creative Commons license)


Anonymous said...

Kan is a much more adept mover and shaker than most realize. He kept his head down during the Hatoyama administration, likely knowing full well the perils of Futenma, and capitalized on the opportunity to ascend to his long sought-after thrown. My guess is he takes his time forming his cabinet. We’ll have to wait until next week (excluding Sengoku as chief sec.)

The DPJ and PNP will remain united, with the SDP likely coming back into the fold. Expect the postal reform bill to pass soon.

For those bio lovers out there, Kan is married with two sons, and is a certified nerd. He lists his hobbies as Go, chess, mahjong, and get this, building calculators. He also throws in scuba diving- everyone likes a scuba diver…

Anonymous said...

here are the vote tallies, just fyi

Lower lip:
Total votes 477
Kan 313
Tanigaki 116
Yamaguchi 21
Shii 9
Fukushima 7
Watanabe 5
Hiranuma 5
Masuzoe 1

Upper lip:
Total votes 237
Kan 123
Tanigaki 71
Yamaguchi 21
Shii 7
Fukushima 6
Masuzoe 6
Hiranuma 2
Watanabe 1

three are reports of a few "invalid" votes. not sure what that's all about... messy handwriting kana?

Janne Morén said...

Building calculators? I like him already. What kind - recreating historical calculating machines, or playing with electromechanics?

Anonymous said...

I've long believed that Kan is the one who could bring genuine reform to Japanese political system.

If you succeed, he could build the political center in Japan for the first time since bureaucracy started to govern Japan in Meiji Era. I hope media would not make silly disturbances as they did before.

Anonymous said...

I like the juxtaposition between himself sitting in sombre composure in the chair, and the image on the wall behind him of that himself doing push-ups in the office(?). Behold the symbolic dynamism of Kan.

Anonymous said...

Relieving Kamei of Postal Reform Minister wouldn't be a bad way for Kan to start the turf wars. ;)

Although the Upper House is going to be pushed for time and support to take up privatization rollback before the end of the session in any case.

Kyle A. said...

I'll pose a question I brought up on your FB page: How does Kan rate as a communicator? Can he sway the country? Is he a Koizumi or a Fukuda?

Granted, political charisma matters less in Japan than in the U.S., but given the public's waning faith in their leaders, it could make a difference.

Lionel W said...

Kan is the most exciting PM since Koizumi

there are certainly some treacherous circumstances awaiting him, but also hope from various quarters. the business world seems to think quite highly of him

as for those 129 votes for tarutoko, can we assume that they were largely ozawa-ites?

Anonymous said...

Irrational exuberance heats up again, and the disillusionment cycle repeats.

Tobias Harris said...

"What future bliss He gives not thee to know/But gives that hope to be thy blessing now./Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be, blest./The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,/Rests and expatiates in a life to come." - Alexander Pope

Seriously though, isn't hope (and disappointment) fundamental to democratic politics? The idea that if the current government fails the citizen can hope for something better?

Pedro Iacobelli said...

Hello Tobias,
Congratulations for your terrific blog.
In relations to the DPJ elections, what do you think about the Tarutoko Shinji´s second place in the party´s election. Since he is part of the "seven magistrates(bugyo)" a group characterized to be anti-Ozawa, Until what extent is the DPJ divided in two groups: (one third is anti-Ozawa and two thirds support Ozawa)

Jeremy Angel said...

Janne, Kan's invention calculated mah-jong scores, apparently. Patented too, but apparently never sold. If it had done well, he might not have gone into politics:-)

Dan Slater said...

Gentlemen and Ladies, what's the electoral maths?
Upper house, DPJ has less than a full majority. 120 seats are up for grabs, out of 240. What is the outlook? How many of the existing 109 DPJ seats will be contested?

Anonymous said...

Dan Slater:

There'll be 121 seats up for grabs, of which 72 will be constituency seats plus 48 proportional seats.

After the SDPJ bolted from the coalition, the DPJ-led coalition now holds just 122 seats, 1 seat above the halfway mark.

This year the coalition will have 56 seats up for re-election, of which 37 are constituency seats.

Kan's task would be to hold onto most of these 37 seats, plus targeting some of the LDP/Komeito seats in order to beef up his majority in the sangiin.

Anonymous said...

Kan didn't have enough of a tenure as finance minister to do much more than get up to speed on economics and fiscal policy. But now that he realizes financial recovery as the number one challenge facing the country, I still find his goals of social liberalism and not being bound by fiscal/budget austerity disappointingly at odds with the realities of growth centered fiscal conservatism.

There's no indication of a corporatist political philosophy that fuses together the worst of both left and right - a la Obama - but definitely a worldview that is as hard to neatly categorize as ever.

Dan Slater said...

Thanks, Anonymous. But what do you mean by 'just'? Why would they need MORE than a simple majority? (Unless you want a nice buffer to go into the UH election with).
I see this UH election as a simple referendum on the new-look DPJ, and Kan himself. Based on the opinion polls, I can't see them losing their majority.
If they did, you'd have to revisit the LH, where the DPJ has 310 votes, not quite 2/3. At that point, you'd need say 10 extra votes in the LH to make sure you can push thru your agenda in the UH, (assuming you don't have a majority there, whis is looking unlikely).
Bottom line: DPJ currently has simple majorities in both houses, and this is unlikely to change in the UH election. That's enough to govern with.

Anonymous said...

Dan Slater, the halfway mark is 121. The DPJ coalition holds 122, a razor sharp majority of 1, which is too close for comfort.

Already they've pissed the SDPJ off, so if the DPJ does something to piss off their other coalition partners, that majority would become non-existent. Thus Kan might want to beef up that majority, or at least maintain it, just to be safe.