Various: Former 1960s student activist now DPJ president of Upper House

** Asahi, in an editorial praising the supposed end of back-room deals between Diet ruling and opposition camps:

The new president of the Upper House is a son of the late Saburo Eda, who served as general secretary of the Japan Socialist Party during the 1960s. When he was a student at the University of Tokyo, Satsuki Eda earned a reputation as a leading campus activist. Eda was deeply involved in the student movement opposing the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which was signed in 1960. In a tragic episode in this movement that occurred on June 15, 1960, Michiko Kanba, a University of Tokyo student, died in a clash between police and demonstrators who crashed into the Diet premises. Eda was among the protesters on that day.

At that time, Nobusuke Kishi was the prime minister. Kishi’s house was often surrounded by demonstrators. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was then a young grandson of the conservative politician and would play with Kishi at his house, as Abe recalls in his book. Kishi is said to have looked amused as his grandson repeatedly said two words: “Anpo Hantai!” (Down with the security pact!), which was the main slogan of the demonstrators.

Ironically, Eda, who once fought fiercely against Kishi, will look down at Abe, who reveres his grandfather, from the seat of the Upper House president.

** And in other news, in case you needed confirmation that Koizumi is interested in forming his own party, check out this reecnt editorial in Nikkei by Naoki Tanaka, a former Keidanren-related think tank head who now is in charge of “Center for International Public Policy Studies” the Koizumi think tank:

LDP leadership concluded, without much thought, that if the party openly criticized civil servants for their perceived sins in those areas, then the electorate would take the view the ruling party was indeed successfully taking over the baton of reform from the Koizumi. However, the electorate must realize that the new LDP leadership is an entirely different team from the one led by Koizumi and it was not something that could be easily grafted on Koizumi’s legacy of reform. What it all boils down to is that the LDP already suffers from reform fatigue, and the need for a party that can replace the LDP has become imperative.

Through the nationwide discussions that took place prior to the latest election, there was a shared understanding among the electorate that the purpose of the upper house poll was to give a score to the sitting government. Considering these results, one can expect the Japanese media to press Abe, who has vowed to stay on despite his party’s election rout, to dissolve the lower house and call a general election. This would take Japan into a season of fundamental political upheaval in which all involved, particularly the electorate, will have to re-examine the essence of the reform agenda and the political methods employed to attain reforms.

You can interpret that line several ways, but given the fact that the DPJ and Kokumin Shinto are submitting a bill that would freeze postal privatization, I doubt Mr. Koizumi or his cronies will have much use for them either.

2 thoughts on “Various: Former 1960s student activist now DPJ president of Upper House”

  1. Kokumin Shinto is trying to gain casting votes in the coalition of oppositions,thus gaining bargaining powers against LDP in future deals.If Abe screws up,LDP may become pre-Koizumi LDP,of which Kokumin shinto people want them to be so they can happily regain LDP member status again.If that happens,DPJ and Koizumi cronies may find something in common.

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