Run of good news for Aso

Ever since the beginning of the Ozawa scandal, I can’t help but feel like Prime Minister Aso has had a non-stop run of good news, from the glowing applause from the media for the recent move to lower highway tolls to 1,000 yen to the passably competent response to the NK missile threat. A Bloomberg article today notes that if this keeps up, the LDP might actually manage to stay in power:

Kim Jong Il’s missile launch over Japan is giving Prime Minister Taro Aso a much-needed boost in opinion polls before elections he must call by September.

Aso’s public support rating rose 9.4 percentage points from last month in a Nippon Television survey completed April 5, the day North Korea fired its rocket. A separate Yomiuri poll gave him a statistically insignificant 1.1 point increase.

The prime minister will look to build on his momentum in the next two days by extending sanctions against Kim’s communist regime and announcing a 15.4 trillion yen ($154 billion) stimulus package to help revive the world’s second-largest economy.

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Ichita Yamamoto and Hidenao Nakagawa, formerly the party’s No. 2 official, say Aso, 68, should seize the moment and call elections in May, four months before he is required to do so. The premier told reporters on March 31 he would decide the election timing after gauging opposition reaction to his government’s third attempt at economic stimulus.

“Until Ozawa’s flop, some would have put money on the DPJ winning the majority at the election,” said Gerald Curtis, a political science professor specializing in Japan at Columbia University. “Now there’s a possibility that Aso’s LDP may come out with more seats.”

If these developments are all it takes to convince people that the LDP should still be in charge, I will have nothing left to say. At that point, what will be left to conclude but that Japan’s public is simply getting the government it deserves?


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