Japan from the inside out

Ichigen koji (173)

Posted by ampontan on Sunday, September 16, 2012

– A person who has something to say about everything

In a column in the Sankei Shimbun, Yayama Taro calls for a political reorganization based on a decoupling from the bureaucracy. He concludes, “In domestic affairs, the question is whether or not politicians are capable of the persistence for a decoupling from the bureaucracy. As (Osaka Mayor) Hashimoto has shown, it is possible if the political will is there.” His argument is correct.

The reason 60% of the public has a positive view of the entry of One Osaka, the group he leads, into national politics, is that he has conducted governmental reform for five years in Osaka Prefecture and the city of Osaka. He has been persistent in his efforts to achieve a decoupling from the bureaucracy.

In contrast, the Democratic Party of Japan was able win public support and take control of the government by promising a decoupling from the bureaucracy. But their efforts to make the National Strategy Bureau the control tower for reform were a failure, they were unable to create a basic program that would be a blueprint for reform, they deboned initiatives to decouple from the bureaucracy, and the moves to eradicate amakudari, reform civil service, and promote regional devolution were all aborted. In the end, all they accomplished was a consumption tax increase, breaking their promise not to do so.

For three years, the DPJ government has been unable to decouple from the bureaucracy. Rather, it has become a bureaucracy-led government. That’s why the public is showing the DPJ government the red card, and 60% of them are supporting the entry of One Osaka into national politics.

The problem is the Liberal-Democratic Party. It is the LDP that should form the framework for a government to transcend the bureaucracy-led politics of the DPJ. From 2003 to 2007, the Koizumi and Abe governments established the Council on Fiscal and Economic Policy as the control tower of reform, created a basic reform policy, and in accordance with that, delivered a “Japan Where the Sun Rises Again”.

The question that must be asked in the LDP presidential election is whether the party will proceed on the Koizumi – Abe course, or whether it will repudiate that course.

Some members of the Kasumigaseki Bureaucracy do not seem to look kindly on the LDP pursuing the Koizumi – Abe course and the idea of a “Japan Where the Sun Rises Again”. I’ve heard rumors that they’re starting their information war. When the LDP becomes incapable of reform, I think we all know what will happen in politics.

– Nakagawa Hidenao, former secretary-general of the LDP

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