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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 September 24 - 30  > Aso does not know the public has power to end LDP rule
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2008 September 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Aso does not know the public has power to end LDP rule

September 30, 2008
Akahata ‘Current’ column

“Taro” is a pronominal for a Japanese boy. It is similar to the use of “Jack” for “John” in English, indicating a “young man” or a “boy.”

The new Japanese prime minister started his first policy speech by solemnly announcing, “I, Aso Taro, have taken the office of the 92nd Japanese Prime Minister.” He went on to say, “Before me have come fifty-eight Prime Ministers.”

There certainly have been 58 prime ministers since the Meiji Era in the late 19th century, including one whose given name was “Taro”. That is Katsura Taro, who held the office of prime minister three times between 1901 and 1913.

It was during the Japanese-Russo War that Katsura took office as Prime Minister for the first time. The second time he assumed the office of Prime Minister coincided with Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula. His 3rd term ended after 62 days when the cabinet resigned en masse. What shook the 3rd Katsura Cabinet was a political movement called the “Movement for Constitutional Government.” At that time, the country was facing a fiscal crunch after squandering tax money on the Japanese-Russo War. Ordinary people were infuriated by the heavy taxation. But the government did not give up on its military buildup policy.

Katsura again emerged as an army general-turned prime minister in those circumstances. The anger of the public grew into a big struggle instead of subsiding. Tens of thousands of people surrounded the Diet Building and drove the Cabinet into a resignation en masse. This political upheaval is called Taisho Seihen or Taisho Political Change (*), known as the first people’s action to overthrow the government.
(*) “Taisho” is an imperial era name.

Prime Minister Aso in his policy speech said that he has “unlimited faith in the power of the Japanese people to weather changes” of the time. In reality, however, what stands paralyzed amid changes of the time is LDP policy itself led by politicians that include Aso. He seems to be unaware that our country is heading into an era in which the Japanese people will use their power to end the LDP rule.
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