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How much will it matter if/when the Democratic Party takes control of the Diet?

Mikawa Ossan

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What do you think? I have read that the Democratic Party wants more transparency from the government. In other words wrestle control of policy from the beauracracy. Also I know that they have talked about removing the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for American ships. Having new faces in charge will be interesting, to be sure.

However, the last time the opposition party took control of parliament, it only lasted for 10 months before it crumbled. The Democratic Party's platform, really doesn't differ much from the Jiminto. The beauracracy has been in place for decades, and it is entrenched.

Will a change in power really be much of a change, or more of the same old same old?
 
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What do you think? I have read that the Democratic Party wants more transparency from the government. In other words wrestle control of policy from the beauracracy. Also I know that they have talked about removing the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for American ships. Having new faces in charge will be interesting, to be sure.
However, the last time the opposition party took control of parliament, it only lasted for 10 months before it crumbled. The Democratic Party's platform, really doesn't differ much from the Jiminto. The beauracracy has been in place for decades, and it is entrenched.
Will a change in power really be much of a change, or more of the same old same old?
Hard to say for sure, a lot of promises are being made but I don't know how they are going to be fulfilled. I am really intrested in this topic.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I must say that I am not very optimistic. I think the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean will probably be cancelled, but mostly I see the Democratic party diving itself among its constituency groups. I hope I'm wrong.

The Jimintou certainly seems confident. Koizumi said at a rally that "it's fine to give power to the opposition from time to time". Obviously he views it as only a temporary shift.
 

Elizabeth

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I for one was stunned to read Hatoyama's incoherent rantings about "fraternity" and US-led globalization splashed across the pages of yet another American publication, this time the NYTimes no less.

These episodes putting the political game before policy by talking too much about sensitive matters like the US-Japan alliance before the party actually takes wins the election, takes power and forms a government are going to come back to haunt them in a big way. Hatoyama is quickly positioning himself to shoot himself in the foot as the biggest weakness of his own party. The more they talk about the best way to approach the US on these issues is as if it is already set in stone is only going to leave them forced to retract as the protracted process of negotiation and compromise sets in. And the credibility of the entire DPJ is going to be in shreds even more than it is already.


Opinion | A New Path for Japan (Published 2009)
 
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Mikawa Ossan

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I actually agreed with much of what he wrote in that piece. I do not the idea of a single Asian currency or Asian political integration, however.
 

Elizabeth

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Most of the mystical rubbish that structured the original essay has mercifully been stripped. But as a policy framework presenting with all seriousness his ideas about governing, it's still so vague and vapid as to be essentially meaningless.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/99704548-8800-11de-82e4-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

"How can brakes be applied on financial capitalism, which forfeits morals and moderation, and market-supremacy-ism so that the people's economy and the people's livelihoods are protected?" Since when has Japan not had precisely this type of costly protectionist system to moderate against global capitalism for its constituents ?? For as long as the LDP has been the party in power, if not before.


Hatoyama also specified in the original that this East Asian community should be modeled after the European Union. He referred to the EU’s principle of subsidiarity in the Maastricht Treaty, saying this principle is “a path towards the construction of a more distinctive, appealing and beautiful Japan.” Wasn't his answer a regional community modeled along the lines of the European Community that was supposed to sidestep the nationalism that plagues bilateral relationships ?? It's going to take a lot more than wishful thinking at this point.
 
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Mikawa Ossan

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http://www2.asahi.com/senkyo2009/news/TKY200908280447.html

Article in the Asahi Shinbun about the reaction to Hatoyama’sツ article.

I don't know why he chose to write that, but it certainly seems to have gotten noticed.

Personally, I don't like much the Jimintou and never have. The Minshutou is not necessarily better, but Japan needs a change. I wonder though how much Mr. Hatoyama's article was just a stunt to draw attention to show that he and his party are different...

I wonder what the reaction to that article was in China. That would be interesting to know.
 

Elizabeth

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I understand the original essay was intended for domestic consumption, running in the conservative Japanese monthly The Voice to assuage right wingers who have little but contempt for the DPJ. Whether its broad republication was authorized by the campaign or the magazine is unclear.

In any event, the party has already had low level representatives sent to Washington with the basic message "don't worry, we're not as wacky as we sound." Hatoyama has reinforced this impression of militant amateurishness by expressing confidence Obama will see everything his way when the two meet in October. Wonder what kind of reception he's in for now ?

If the DPJ is going to succeed, it definitely needs to be much smarter about the image it presents at home and abroad — which includes how it relates with the media. It's game time now.
 
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pipokun

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...
which includes how it relates with the media. It's game time now.

Allegedly the PM's briefing will be open to any media, from foreign media, weekly magazines, to tabloids.
I am just curious how the liberal media will react after they lose their "the have" position.
 

Elizabeth

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Well, all I know is what I read in Kyodo. :p But they're off to a fighting start. Hatoyama already stopped his habit of burasagari press conferences once (or more) a day when the campaign began and attributed it to lack of time....and like the lackeys on the right, Asahi also reported the real reason was to avoid choking on his own gaffes.
 

Emoni

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Well, I'm mostly just glad to see people at least starting to speak out and kick people like Aso out, that's at the very least, a START.
 

JerseyBoy

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It's hard to tell at this moment. I will give them a benefit of the doubt as they are still an untested political party which is about to govern Japan. As long as they shake up Japan's bureaucrats, I think there should be some positive outcomes. Japan has been run by out-of-touch bureaucrats for many decades and it is good that DPJ makes good on its promise to wrestle power from bureaucrats and put it in the hands of the elected officials who are more tuned to their constituents' needs.

It is amazing it took 2 decades to kick out LDP. It is better later than never, as the saying goes. LDP's track record shows their failed policy clearly if you look at Japan's economic performance, stagnated standard of living, a massive government debt, rampant political corruptions, me-too foreign policy following the tail of the USA, and etc.

I am sure DPJ is shifting gear from campaigning to governing.
 
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Dogen Z

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I think this change of government is on a provisional basis. In some districts, the DPJ won by only a small margin, and some people I've talked to said they didn't vote for the DPJ but against the LDP. So unless the DPJ can deliver on some ot its promises, there will be a switch again in the next election.

Upper house elections are slated for next year so the DPJ will have to act fast. I think it will concentrate on domestic issues, and Hatoyama might try to channel a bit of Obama. But only a bit, this is Japan after all. Hatoyama is a PhD from Stanford (engineering), I think he's a bit tech-savvy, which is good for this tech-savvy nation. And some the people that will be in his cabinet have substantial experience in key industries for the future. And they aren't as tied down by years of patronage by special interests as LDP people. So there should be some change there.

I don't expect any substantial change in international relationship but I expect a change of tone. Perhaps insisting on a little more deferential treatment rathter than just kowtowing to demands from the U.S. side.
 

Ashikaga

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One big factor, I think, is what role Ozawa will be playing. I saw some TV talking head last night saying that there is always a possibility of the party imploding with the inevitable development of factions combined with the presence of someone volatile like Ozawa in the smack middle of it all.
 

Elizabeth

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One big factor, I think, is what role Ozawa will be playing. I saw some TV talking head last night saying that there is always a possibility of the party imploding with the inevitable development of factions combined with the presence of someone volatile like Ozawa in the smack middle of it all.
I don't doubt Ozawa is capable of forcing DPJ members and party officials deeply indebted to him for their start in politics to choose between loyalty to him and loyalty to appointed Cabinet ministers or vice versa. He's the the ultimate tactician after all -- back room, back channel, endless hours on the phone to supporters type politician who never does anything in a way that is transparent or open. Keeping someone like that away from policy making roles and in a position of chief election strategist for the House of Councillors election as is being discussed seems like a smart move. At the least, it is a position less likely to lend itself to corruption and, on the optimistic end, could actually result in him using his natural stratagizing skills to good advantage while being held accountable more than at any time in the past.
 
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