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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 January 21 - 27  > How much is the LDP aware of its ‘crisis’?
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2009 January 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

How much is the LDP aware of its ‘crisis’?

January 23, 2009
- Akahata ‘Current’ column

“Our party is in the greatest crisis since its founding.” The Liberal Democratic Party stated this in its annual action policy. This self-diagnosis may not be an exaggeration.

However, it may only be rhetorical flourish and it is doubtful whether the ruling party is really aware of its present problem. Or, it may be that there are temptations and fetters that continue to bind the LDP.

This is illustrated by what happened at the recent LDP convention.

Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Chairman Mitarai Fujio in his speech said, “I wish from the bottom of my heart for an LDP victory (in the upcoming House of Representatives general election).” This may be an encouraging greeting to the LDP, but the question persists: How much support will it be able to win from the public while maintaining ties with the business circles? It will be commonsensical to expect that such a state of affairs will cause a backfire.

Major corporations are laying off workers and throwing them out into the streets in the dead of winter. Large corporations are giving the LDP money in donations, which are a tiny share of the profits they made at the cost of overworked and underpaid employees. This relationship between the LDP and its patrons is not something that they can be proud of publicly.

The LDP also relies heavily on the Komei Party, its coalition partner. But it is a well-known fact that the Komei Party is pushing the Aso Cabinet to a perilous position by demanding that the notorious two-trillion yen cash handouts be included in the economic stimulus plan. Nevertheless, the LDP is unable to give up the coalition.

The LDP is not only surrounded by a crisis. Its own crisis is also deepening. It has approved a bill to increase the consumption tax rate in 2011. Raising the consumption tax rate is a demand from the business circles, which want the government to use the increased tax money to further reduce corporate taxes. But the tax hike plan will inevitably cause public disgust. Is the LDP taking a risk of doing this? Or, is it taking a who-gives-a-damn attitude? We, the JCP, will bury the tax increase plan as well as the LDP.
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