Japan from the inside out

Aspirations update

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, April 10, 2010

HERE’S SOME MORE information on the new party soon to be formed by a group of local government chief executives calling themselves the Nihon Shimin Kaigi, which I profiled earlier this week.

I included Matsuyama Mayor Nakamura Tokihiro as a party member in that report, but the new party head Yamada Hiroshi says that Mr. Nakamura, who has worked closely with the founding members in the past and appeared on stage with them last week, will not formally be a member. In addition:

* Mr. Yamada himself will not run in the upcoming upper house election, though key member Nakada Hiroshi, former Yokohama mayor, might.

* In regard to Osaka Gov. Hashimoto Toru:

We’ll work together in different ways, but he is not directly involved now.

* On the party’s philosophy:

From (our) perspective of promoting governmental reform at the local level, there are too many problems with the operation of national government. We’ll apply our experience (to those problems) based on our success in local government.

* On the Democratic Party administration:

Some prominent DPJ members declared earlier this week they had much in common with this new party and that they should work together. Said Mr. Yamada:

There’s too much pork (in that government). That has no connection with reviving the state…We want to be a gathering of the voices of the people nationwide and draw a clear line of demarcation with what’s happening in Nagata-cho.

One prominent DPJ member that I speculated might have interest in forming ties with this group is former party head and current Cabinet minister Maehara Seiji. Mr. Maehara is a graduate of the Matsushita Institute, as are some of the prominent people in the new party, and they would seem to share some important elements of their philosophy. He ruled an alliance out by saying there was no reason for that to happen, however.

Does Mr. Maehara really prefer working with those labor unions, the party’s other undifferentiated leftists, Kamei Shizuka, and the Ozawa Ichiro brigade? Well, look at it from his perspective–some in the party have been questioning his loyalty for quite a while, and he has to keep up appearances. Also, why should he ally himself with a new group now that he’s finally secured a high-profile position in government?

I got mine, right?

The May issue of the Bungei Shunju is out on newsstands today. It contains articles by members of this new party, as well as an article by Yosano Kaoru announcing the start of his Stand Up Japan party.

The vernacular newspapers put reports of Messrs. Yosano and Hiranuma on the front page, and the news of Mr. Yamada and his new party on page two, but it goes without saying which group is driving with its eyes on the road ahead, and which is driving in the rearview mirror.

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