In addition, 52 percent of the respondents said they would prefer a government led by Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), up from 45 percent in the previous survey. It is the first time the ratio has exceeded 50 percent for the main opposition party.
Which makes it sound like 自民党 (LDP … famously “neither Liberal nor Democratic”) is going to have to pull something special out of the bag in the next couple of months. Their previous effort, getting the leader of the opposition 民主党 (DPJ … famously unelectable until recently) to quit over accusations that he had been receiving money from a construction company (believe me, if this was the standard by which Japanese politicians were judged, the Diet would be empty!), does not appear to have gone down well. It was pretty clear to the public (presumably) that it was a politically motivated move, and made to look especially venal when it was revealed that at least four LDP members had taken money from the same company, but weren’t being bothered by the prosecutors… oops.
I’m reading Karel Van Wolferen‘s controversial book, The Enigma of Japanese Power, at the moment. Despite having been written in 1989, many of the names and a lot of the issues are just as relevant now as they were 20 years ago. If there is one country that needs some change, having spent the last twenty years in recession, it’s Japan.
The timing is rather odd… i’ve been meaning to read this book for literally years, and now that i’m finally getting round to it, not only is the author back in Japan, but many of the issues with political stagnation under the LDP might finally be challenged.
My guess is that if the DPJ does manage to get itself elected this Autumn, the bureaucracy aka System will insure that they fail to enact reform, and will do whatever it can do restore it’s cosy relationship with the LDP. Life in Japan, for many of those that still care enough to vote, is comfortable enough that they are likely to be tempted by the siren call of the devil they know.
One day Japan will have to change… but i’m willing to bet that day isn’t going to, in any meaningful way, come soon.