AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Quick hits on the Noda Cabinet

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, September 3, 2011

“Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s personnel choices for his first Cabinet are a safety-first lineup that emphasizes intraparty reconciliation, as were his selections for party officers. After some soul-searching, they realized the loss of the government’s momentum was due to the party’s internal disputes. But an introspective approach that places priority on the party’s internal stability makes it difficult to see a path to Japan’s recovery during this national crisis.”
– Front page editorial in the Nishinippon Shimbun, which generally supports the Democratic Party of Japan

“It’s a mosaic Cabinet into which pieces of different colors and shapes have been forcibly jammed.”
– Yamaguchi Natsuo, New Komeito president

“It’s a Cabinet designed to prevent intrigues and prevent an internal party revolt.”
– Fukushima Mizuho, Social Democratic Party president

“It’s a Cabinet with internal party balance, just like in the old days of the Liberal-Democratic Party.”
– Oshima Tadamori, vice-president of the Liberal-Democratic Party.

“The Cabinet’s directly connected to the world of business and finance.”
– Shii Kazuo, Chairman of the Japanese Communist Party, referring to Mr. Noda’s immediate visits to the heads of the country’s three largest business organizations, including Keidanren. (Members of the Kan Cabinet visited Rengo, the trade union organization, instead.)

“Posts were handed out as rewards, and the Cabinet is straight on the path to tax increases.”
– Watanabe Yoshimi, president of Your Party

“The composition is good, isn’t it? (Prime Minister Noda) was quite mindful of everyone.”
– Ozawa Ichiro, former Democratic Party president

“If this Cabinet is unable to meet the people’s expectations, the Democratic Party of Japan does not have the ability to be responsible for government. This is a do-or-die Cabinet.”
– Watanabe Kozo, senior advisor of the Democratic Party of Japan

*****
“Though Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko stresses that he is the son of an officer in the Self-Defense Forces, he appointed Ichikawa Yasuo, a novice in defense and security matters, to the post of Defense Minister. I am unable to understand the intent behind this appointment.”
– Abiru Rui, Kantei correspondent for the Sankei Shimbun. Mr. Ichikawa has a degree in agricultural civil engineering, and once served in the Agriculture Ministry. He is also a member of Ozawa Ichiro’s faction.

“I am a novice in defense and security matters, but that represents true civilian control.”
– Ichikawa Yasuo, Defense Minister in the Noda Cabinet

“That (statement) merits immediate dismissal from the Cabinet, and it also calls into question Prime Minister Noda’s discernment.”
– Ishiba Shigeru, former Defense Minister in an LDP government

*****
Mr. Noda’s Cabinet selections have impressed the news media as being singularly unimpressive. Journalist Kakutani Koichi went so far as to suggest that people of such little consequence were chosen because it would be easier to shunt them aside if the prime minister were able to create a grand coalition with the opposition parties. The Cabinet includes:

Azumi Jun as Finance Minister. Mr. Azumi was an NHK announcer before becoming a politician and has no discernible qualifications for this post. In fact, he has never been a full Cabinet minister before, yet was given one of the three most important portfolios. He is, however, a dependable partisan attack dog. The Nikkei share price index fell 146 points shortly after his appointment was announced.

Gemba Koichiro as Foreign Minister. Mr. Gemba has been a professional politician since the age of 26 and has no discernible qualifications for this post, either. He is in favor of reinterpreting the Constitution to allow for collective self-defense. He opposed the efforts of Kan Naoto and Sengoku Yoshito to reopen discussions of reparations payments to South Korea by reminding them that the issue had been resolved by the 1965 treaty between the two countries when Japan paid the South Korean government the equivalent of $US 800 million.

Hachiro Yoshio as Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry. Mr. Hachiro also has a degree in agriculture and is a veteran of the Socialist Party, which speaks eloquently to his qualifications for his new job. He is also a member of a Diet group (mostly from the DPJ), who urge friendly ties with North Korea and think the problems with that country’s nuclear missile program can be resolved by closer ties with South Korea. Mr. Hachiro is opposed to participating in the discussions for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade agreement, which Mr. Noda supports. The prime minister retained in his Cabinet another prominent TPP opponent, Agriculture Minister Kano Michihiko.

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4 Responses to “Quick hits on the Noda Cabinet”

  1. σ1 said

    ““It’s a Cabinet with internal party balance, just like in the old days of the Liberal-Democratic Party.”

    Ha, thanks for the comedy. Yes, the “old” LDP, not the “new” reformed finely tuned responsive democratic machine that they are now.
    —————–
    The comedy gets better. I just added an update about the Defense Minister.
    – A.

  2. richard hendy said

    “Azumi Jun as Finance Minister. Mr. Azumi was an NHK announcer before becoming a politician and has no discernible qualifications for this post. In fact, he has never been a full Cabinet minister before, yet was given one of the three most important portfolios. He is, however, a dependable partisan attack dog. The Nikkei share price index fell 146 points shortly after his appointment was announced.”

    Really should try and check your facts, old bean. The Nikkei opened at 8,980 on Friday, hit a low at 8,914, and closed at 8,950. No 146pt drop to be seen.

    See here:

    http://stocks.finance.yahoo.co.jp/stocks/detail/?code=998407.o

    What a fraudster you are.
    ———
    「組閣情報が本格的に流れ始めた2日午前10時半過ぎから、日経平均株価は下げ幅を広げ、午後には一時、146円安をつけた。」
    They were calculating from the closing price of the previous day, which was 9,060. Which is apparent from the link you sent.

    – A.

  3. Ken Y-N said

    I’m not sure I understand why Ishiba san thinks Ichikawa san’s views should mean instant dismissal.

    Anyway, at Gemba san’s first press conference he stressed the Japan-US alliance, yet Ichikawa san is from the Ozawa camp which favours China – how will this play out and how long until China sends a “fishing” boat sniffing around the Senkakus?

    As long as Ozawa san does not stick his oar in, I do think that Noda san can actually do some good work.
    ———-
    There’s talk of Okada and Sengoku running things behind the scenes. Ozawa nixed Okada as Finance Minister, apparently. Some of the lightweights are connected to these two.

  4. Guy-Jean said

    expect some Chinese fishing boat action right quick to test Ishikawa
    ————
    GJ: Thanks for the note. That’s a test of not just him, but the entire Cabinet. From one perspective, the Chinese are the ones who brought down Kan Cabinet. In one of the newspaper polls last year, Mr. Kan’s approval rating dropped more than 42 points in just two months after the people saw how they handled national defense matters.

    – A.

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