June 25, 2006


Koizumi leaves LDP factions in tatters (MASAMI ITO, 6/26/06, Japan Times)

When Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi assumed the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party in April 2001, he vowed to "destroy" the party that had been in power for almost the entire time since its creation in 1955.

Among the factors contributing to the LDP's strength over the decades were the rivalry among its intraparty factions, its close ties with the bureaucracy and big business, and its role as coordinator for vested interest groups, which in turn served as the party's support base.

But in the five years since taking office, Koizumi has indeed shattered the LDP -- and for the worse, his political foes say.

"Koizumi has managed to go further than just destroy the LDP -- he has completely annihilated it," grumbled People's New Party leader Tamisuke Watanuki, a former House of Representatives speaker. "Koizumi has turned Japan from a democracy into a dictatorship where everyone must do whatever he tells them to."

Watanuki, an LDP member for more than three decades, broke ranks with the party because he opposed Koizumi's plan to privatize the postal system and as such was banned from running on the party ticket in September's general election, which was called because the privatization legislation did not clear the Diet. Many who opposed privatization feared losing postal workers' votes.

Not only do all the Third Way guys govern alike but the criticisms of them are indistinguishable. You can substitute Blair or Bush in that story and reprint it in London or America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2006 8:57 PM
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