Monday, December 10, 2012

Japanese election

Japan looks set to continue its recent tradition of changing prime ministers every year with a general elections set for Dec. 16. The public is seemingly unimpressed with any of the candidates; poll regularly report that more than 50% of the electorate does not prefer any of the parties.

Among the major contenders Shinzo Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party is seen as most favourably inclined towards nuclear power. He has stated that nuclear electricity production will continue after safety checks have been performed on all reactors. The LDP is also the party most likely to end up in power. As far as it goes, this is good news for Japan; but the LDP is also the dinosaur party; they have ruled oligarchically since the 1950s and are said to be puppets of the bureaucrats. It is impossible to be optimistic in the face of another LDP government; Japan will just continue to the abyss, sleepwalking to oblivion. It is the LDP that is most responsible for pushing the country into the permanent decline it finds itself. For example, their economic policy is simply to 'promote public works to revive the economy', an action so unlikely to revive the economy that you may as well give the money to me and I'll spend it on sushi.

Abe's rivals do not exactly seem promising either. The current government of prime minister Noda is getting support in the single figures and will surely be thrown out. Then there is the rise of the so-called 'third force', which formed when maverick rightwingers Toru Hashimoto and Shintaro Ishihara joined forces to create the Japan Restoration Party. They have expressed contradictory attitudes to nuclear power (Hashimoto wants to get rid of it and Ishihara wants to keep it) and Ishihara is a right nutter. He is 134 years old, and his version of 'restoring Japan' is to discard the alliance with America and re-assert the country's rights against China, whilst re-writing the constitution to allow rearmament and possible nuclear weapons development! Way to go, you can make enemies of everybody! Unfortunately he is just stubborn and crazy enough to get some votes, and may end up kingmaker if nothing else.

Other minor parties seem to be dominated by the issue of nuclear power and how soon to get rid of it.

Overall, at best we can expect unimpressive mediocrity. Just lower your expectation and everything will be okay.


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