The End of the DPJ?

It is somewhat sad. A case where the promise of change has evaporated in the face of the white heat of bureaucratic intransigence. On the other hand, it was certainly one of the more likely outcomes. As usual i feel a fool for having been even remotely optimistic. Japanese politics is a cruel game…

Over at the Shisaku blog, there is some hand wringing, and it’s not hard to sympathize. In the end it realistically comes down to this:

“Why not hold an election then? If all the first-termers and lefties fry, so what? We will just take our place at the table as the Noda Faction of the LDP.”

A level of cynicism and disregard for public service that you almost have to admire… still, have to hope that the public at least see some sport in trying to break Abe again. One might reasonable suggest that there are tough times ahead for japanese progressives – it’s going to be a long slog through the wilderness while the rightwing popularism sweeps the nation back to the dawn of the Meiji era.

Edit: as an aside, i have some sympathy with the idea that Japan should attempt to become a more normal state (one of the popularist goals) but very little sympathy with the idea that imperialist throwbacks like Abe, Aso, Ishihara, Hashimoto, et al. are the means to achieve such a normalization.

All they want is a de facto remilitarization (via constitutional change) of Japan. This seems like suicide in a region dominated by a resurgent China. And as the voice of progressives is essentially inaudible over the blaring sirens of these blowhards, more radical options to achieve a regional power balance aren’t even discussed. Improved relations / cooperation with China and the Koreas are unquestionably the only way forward, but that is trumped by the right’s (unachievable) desire to return to empire, and need for the US to maintain a client state as counter-balance to China.

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2 thoughts on “The End of the DPJ?

  1. I think a lot of us in Japan, citizens and non-Japanese residents, felt that sense of hope when the DPJ came to power after all those decades of LDP rule. And then Hashimoto made a lot of people briefly hope again before he revealed his autocratic nature. I hope the hawks don’t win, but will it matter? Didn’t Noda’s government break a record for least bills passed in the Diet? Will the next government do any better?

    • Indeed for the DPJ, Hashimoto not so much. He seemed pretty transparently a rightwing populist. It’s always hard to tell because the Japanese media is so inane / inept, and is only covering anything in the hope that it’ll sell a few ads (NHK simply reports calmly on the hype.) Hope brought us this far…

      it’s hard to see how an re-arrangement of the politicians fronting the bureaucracy can make a difference. The only reason for believing that the DPJ could have made a difference was that Ozawa made it clear he wanted to confront Kasumigaseki. You probably know how that worked out for him.

Wise words...

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