Well what a difference 48 hours makes.
I appended my previous post with a few extra developments, as below:
The PM has come out in no uncertain terms (jp) in the lower house and said he will quit once the three bills are passed. The word is it might all be done by the 26th with the 28th being the DPJ’s presidential election to select Kan’s replacement.
Ishiba Shigeru of the “hardline” LDP faction has now softened his stance and said (jp) that if the DPJ puts in someone competent there is no reason why the LDP can’t work with the DPJ “for the benefit of the nation.” Interestingly he said that “it is up for debate within the party whether we can work within the cabinet or outside the cabinet but if it is for the nation we must do what we must do.” A curious statement, particularly the first part. Is the LDP trying to one up New Komeito here in terms of friending the soon to be Kan-free DPJ?1 Subsequently Tanigaki did rule out an official grand coalition but nevertheless was making positive overtures towards cooperation (jp). But what happened to Ishiba’s defiant attitude of a few days ago?
Maybe Edano is thinking about a run for the DPJ presidency? In response (jp) to Minna no Tou’s Eguchi Katsuhiko’s question on the Senkaku Islands, Edano was quoted as saying: If another country invades the Senkaku Islands (which we exercise effective control over) then we would exercise our right of self-defense and remove (the offending nation) at any cost. ( 我が国が有効に支配している尖閣諸島に対して他国が侵略してきたら、あらゆる犠牲を払ってでも自衛権を行使してこれを排除する) There was apparently an indication that the SDF would be used as part of this recovery mission. For many this might not seem like a particularly controversial statement but this is uncompromisingly tough language for a Japanese politician.
Perhaps reading Machiavelli’s The Prince all those years ago left too much of a mark on me, but LDP President Tanigaki’s favourable comments on likely DPJ contender Noda Yoshihiko strike me as going a little bit too far in this new spirit of cooperation.
Tanigaki in an internet interview over at nico nico douga described Noda as someone who is a steady hand and is not prone to flights of fancy (jp). As far as things go, this is about as good a comment one could expect from an opposition politician in Japan. Is Tanigaki, who would be his main future rival, trying to influence the election in some way or form by trying to legitimize Noda’s candidacy, given the public has not yet been taken with his candidacy? Is it simply because the LDP believes they can work with Noda as opposed to anyone else and likes his policy program better? Or are they wanting to avoid a more popular candidate coming to power? Do they think in the long-term Noda may be the most likely to go the same way as Kan and Hatoyama, neither of who were particularly popular or commanding when they came into power? Is there something hidden that the rest of us don’t know about the relatively “clean” Noda?
Or am I just being silly? I am certainly open to that possibility.
1 Yes the first sentence of that link my contain my name and a link back to my previous post, but to be honest MTC as usual lays it out more clearly than my convoluted mind usually allows.
Update: Maybe there is more to the Tanigaki-Noda love-in. Noda responded (jp) to Tanigaki’s comment by saying Tanigaki may have acquired a good impression of Noda when Tanigaki was the finance minister and Noda was the DPJ’s finance spokesperson. It is in line with MTC’s statement about the next DPJ as being one where candidates represent ministry interests.