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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 September 3 - 9  > LDP to hold its presidential election without self-examination of its responsibility for political stalemate
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2008 September 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

LDP to hold its presidential election without self-examination of its responsibility for political stalemate

September 5, 2008
Akahata editorial

The Liberal Democratic Party is moving in full swing in the wake of Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo’s announcement of his intention to resign. Following LDP Secretary-General Aso Taro, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Yosano Kaoru and former Policy Research Council Chairman Ishihara Nobuteru have expressed their intention to run in the election. Former Defense Minister Koike Yuriko, who is close to the faction led by former LDP Secretary-General Nakagawa Hidenao, is also showing willingness to announce her candidacy.

All these moves are in line with the LDP attempt to use the party election to play up its presence and diminish the negative impact that Fukuda’s resignation has had. There is no sign that the LDP is aware that their policies are in a stalemate, which led Fukuda to relinquish his responsibility as the leader of the government.

Where to now?

In announcing his candidacy, Aso stated, “In my own way, I will take over what Prime Minister Fukuda could not accomplish although he wanted to.” Yosano is a key figure in economic and fiscal management under the Fukuda government. Ishihara has made it clear that he will continue with the “structural reform” policies initiated by former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro. He is close to the “Rising Tide” group which calls for the promotion of the “structural reform” policies with former LDP Secretary-General Nakagawa, who is now backing Koike as a candidate for the LDP president.

Although there are differences between these would-be prime ministers, it is striking that all of them exhibit no awareness of or sincere remorse for the present political stalemate, which compelled Fukuda to give up power. They are not motivated by a serious intention of moving away from the disastrous “structural reform” policies.

What drove Fukuda to resign is not only a sharp decline in public support for his cabinet, but the dead end he reached in both domestic and foreign affairs.

The “structural reform” policy initiated by former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichiro only to help major corporations increase their profits has proven to be a failure in that, far from invigorating people’s lives, it has exacerbated poverty and economic inequalities, driving many into unbearable hardships. The failure of the “structural reform” policy had already become clear when Prime Minister Fukuda took office. Nevertheless, Fukuda did nothing about it and stuck to the failing policy, thus further worsening the nation’s economy.

It is absurd and impossible to try to mend the failed “structural reform” policy by continuing with the Fukuda Cabinet policy.

Some influential LDP politicians are publicly arguing that this LDP presidential election should be an opportunity to call for a consumption tax increase. It is an attempt to gloss over the failure of the “structural reform” policies by forcing the public to shoulder even more burdens.

The LDP is using the media to report on stories around its presidential election in an attempt to reduce the negative impact that the upcoming general election might have on the LDP. But it cannot hide the deadlock it has reached in terms of policies.

Power moving away from failed policies

It is impossible for the present LDP-Komei ruling coalition to move away from the failed policies simply by replacing the LDP president. The Democratic Party of Japan, which plans to hold its presidential election at almost the same timing as the LDP’s election, is expected to reelect Ozawa Ichiro. The DPJ, which had ever temporarily agreed to establish a “grand coalition” with the LDP, cannot exert the ability to change LDP policies.

The dissolution of the House of Representatives for a general election cannot be avoided even after the election of a new LDP president and a new prime minister. Under these circumstances, only the JCP, which can offer progressive change in national policies, can meet the needs of the people.
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