September 11, 2005


Candidates make final pitch ahead of election (Japan Times, 9/11/05)

Candidates and party leaders made their final pitches to voters Saturday on the eve of the crucial House of Representatives election, with media polls widely predicting a victory to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his plan to privatize the postal services.
Both Koizumi and his top rival, Katsuya Okada, head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, made last-minute efforts to woo vital urban voters on the final day of the 12-day campaign period.

"Are public employees the only ones who can take care of important jobs?" Koizumi thundered to a crowd in Tokyo. "Privatization of the postal service is the best way to cut down on the number of civil servants in Japan."

In another part of the capital, Okada drove home his message that the country has more pressing concerns than the postal service.

"Japan faces problems of a decreasing population, aging society and increasing of national debts," Okada said. "Mr. Koizumi sounds as if life will be all rosy if the postal service is privatized, but no one takes what he says seriously."

It's just astonishing that the Japanese opposition would try to position itself as more reformist than Mr. Koizumi. As Gerhard Schroeder has demonstrated in Germany, the best way to contest elections in the dying nations of the West is to defend the welfare state against the reformers.

Four LDP rebels say they will back postal bills after election (Japan Times, 9/11/05)

Four ruling party lawmakers who did not back Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's postal privatization bills have decided to support the legislation if the ruling coalition wins a majority in the general election, LDP lawmakers said Saturday.
The four Upper House members of the Liberal Democratic Party communicated their decisions to Mikio Aoki, the head of the LDP caucus in the Upper House.

On Friday, Yoshitada Konoike, considered a leading LDP rebel in the upper chamber opposed to the postal bills, said he would also endorse them if the coalition wins a majority.

Mr. Koizumi has won his gamble.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2005 12:00 AM

In Japan, it looks like, opposing political parties debate issues and join together once the voters have decided which position they support.

How refreshing is that.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2005 9:26 AM

OJ's astonishment just shows how little experienced he is about the Japanese in general. Historically, the Japanese take a long, long time to reform as they look for consensus on how to solve long standing problems, but then change comes incredibly fast. This is just the beginning of the culmination of the reform movement started with Hosokawa back in the early 90's.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 12, 2005 12:23 PM