Snubbing Koizumi

I noted in a recent post that the opposition DPJ has just adopted a rule that would prohibit politicians from retiring from politics and letting their relatives run to replace them. This has long been a common practice in Japan, when long-serving members of the Diet retire and have sons or other close relatives run in their place.

Following on the DPJ adopting this rule, the papers are reporting today that the LDP is now discussing a similar prohibition, which could be implemented as early as the next election. Why is this a big deal? Because former PM Junichiro Koizumi is stepping down and is trying to hand off his seat to his son, Shinjiro Koizumi. Shinjiro would be prohibited from running as an LDP candidate if this rule is ultimately passed before the upcoming election. (Another candidate who would be prohibited from running would be Shouichi Usui, son of Hideo Ushi, a former Minister of Justice.)

There are ways for Shinjiro to get around this, of course. One option is for him to just run as an independent, and join the LDP after he’s elected (not an uncommon practice, and a path followed by some such as Makiko Tanaka). But I find it interesting that the LDP is choosing to adopt this policy now. While it’s probably a reactionary move to the DPJ’s platform, the motivation of some pushing this policy must surely be to snub the man who promised to destroy the LDP.

20 thoughts on “Snubbing Koizumi”

  1. I keep hoping the LDP will somehow be forced to rewrite its rules in a way to disqualify every current member from office.

  2. Why can’t they just leave it to democracy to solve these problems?

    These sons/relatives or whatever are actually being elected by the people, so what business does anyone have saying someone can or can’t run, even if it’s just for one party.

  3. I’m surprised that Curzon takes Koizumi’s rhetoric about “destroying the LDP” seriously! Thanks to that empty promise, the LDP has been able to hold on to power. Koizumi’s demagoguery hoodwinked the voters but do you really think that the LDP members were shaking in their boots at the time? Most of them, apart from the few who left the party when their factions came up on the losing end of the usual jockeying for influence (Kamei et al), owe their continued existence as corrupt politicians to that single-issue election Koziumi pulled off. (Of course, that doesn’t mean that they will be eternally grateful to that well-coiffed poseur. )

  4. Darin, saying that “these sons/relatives or whatever are actually being elected by the people” isn’t always true, as unpopular politicians can still be put into office on the party list system, with no member of the electorate voting for them specifically.

  5. Guy, Koizumi promised to change the LDP and change Japan, and he did — and did fundamentally change the LDP in the process (although it’s been reverting over the course of the past three PMs). Sorry if that doesn’t conform with the Marxist view, but that is a commonly accepted view of the situation.

  6. “It’s a marxist comment and he’s a marxist.” great comment on semantics… which is exactly what you two are quibbling over. Obviously a guy who inherited a disheveled party and left it with an Upper House-proof 2/3 majority can’t credibly claim to have literally destroyed the party, but he obviously took them in a far different direction than the previous PMs and did literally destroy the LDP’s long-standing but stagnation-producing process of building consensus.

  7. So you’re saying you know Guy and he’s consistently had a Marxist position? I ask because I’ve never seen comments from him before. His comment above struck me as cynical and distrusting of politicians, but I don’t see anything “Marxist” per se. i.e. nothing about economics at all, or about class struggle. It isn’t inconsistent with a Marxist viewpoint, but absolutely nothing about it strikes me as “Marxist” rather than simply “LDP hater”. He isn’t even criticizing politicians as a class, merely the LDP.

  8. Adam: I don’t think they’re disagreement here is semantic so much it is about Koizumi’s fundamental intent. Curzon believes Koizumi when he said he wanted to destroy (really rebuild, but he wanted to be dramatic) the LDP, Guy believes it was a cynical political ploy. I say that even if Koizumi himself was sincere, most of his LDP supporters were just being cynical politicians who thought they should play follow the leader.

  9. OK, I will not shy away from a semantic argument about what a semantic argument is:

    Guy Jean: The campaign pledge to “destroy the LDP” was “rhetoric,” an “empty promise,” and “demagoguery” that scared no one aimed at keeping the LDP in power except for the “few” who got purged.

    Curzon: “Guy, Koizumi promised to change the LDP and change Japan, and he did—and did fundamentally change the LDP in the process”

    So in addition to a dispute over facts in the matter (which I feel are squarely on Curzon’s side), I see this as a disagreement over whether what Koizumi did (again assuming theres a common understanding of what that is) really constituted “destroying” the LDP or something close enough to make that word meaningful. Transitive property, carry the 2, and bam it’s about the meaning of a word and hence semantics. I will allow that for it to be a semantic argument you might need the distinction to be completely meaningless, which it isn’t in this case.

  10. Roy

    I’m actually glad you mentioned that, because it was bothering me as I thought about this more on the train.

    I think though, that the real problem is the whole 比例代表区制 system. Banning the party from appointing a son or any other relative of a former/current party member would certainly put a stop to them gaining a position due to their friendly connections in the party abusing the party list system, but it would also deny the people the chance to vote in someone they do want to represent them in a 小選挙区制 system.

    Personally I think the answer is to get rid of the 比例代表区制 all together, but that’s just me.

  11. The son in law of the card carrying members of the communist party here.

    Personally,I kinda agree with Guy Jean for three reason.

    One.What Koizumi had offered to the nation during “the postal election”was options.Not alternatives.

    Two.Koizumi contributed more seats for LDP in diet.More power to LDP.

    Three.Koizumi could have mobilized his “children” to stop Abe allowing postal rebels back to LDP or Fukuda changing diplomatic strategy or Aso postponing economic reform.Yet did neither and simply abandoned children’s fate to go by themselves.Which reminds me of what Hosokawa Morihiro did to the New Japan Party way back in 1994.However,Hosokawa left the legacy of what later became the nucleus of non-LDP/non-Socialist political party.I don’t see such political legacy in Koizumi apart from his second son taking over his seat.

  12. Nice detective work J. Edgar (Curzon)! Along with the “Mail (will not be published)” note perhaps you should also inform first-time posters, like myself, that their e-mail will be used to investigate their general outlook on the world so as to lump them into some superficial category of persona non grata.

    Maybe I don’t spend enough of my time participating in blog arguments to know what is appropriate etiquette these days, but I am more than a bit shocked that my rather mild criticism of one particular view posted by a person I “do not know from Adamu” received such a response. (Seriously, is this considered OK?)

    Perhaps your off-the wall (He’s a Marxist, run for the hills!) response is related to the fact that “Koizumi promised to change the LDP and change Japan, and he did” is right up there with “Americans don’t torture” as far as convincing arguments go.

    Good bye

  13. ”He’s Marxist,run for the hills!”.

    Nooo. You don’t spend enough of your time here to get to know Curzon,Guy.
    He would burn down the hills,not run away from it.

    Koizumi DID “promised”to change LDP and change Japan.And so he did.
    And Americans DID torture inmates at Guantanamo.

    Not exactly a great argument on semantics going on here.

  14. Adam: You’re totally missing my point. Guy wasn’t arguing that Koizumi didn’t destroy the LDP, he’s claiming that Koizumi never intended to make any significant changes and that it was all a front. That’s WAY more than a semantic difference.

  15. “I am more than a bit shocked that my rather mild criticism of one particular view posted by a person I “do not know from Adamu” received such a response. (Seriously, is this considered OK?)”

    While I don’t agree with Curzon’s response to you (as I think you can see) it was hardly extreme by internet standards. I suggest you take a look at the threads on some of the partisan blogs where people don’t restrain themselves at all for comparison.

  16. It’s not really reassuring to say “yeah, but the other places are even worse”. One thing I appreciate about MF is that the comments are seldom personal. The discussions are generally calm and rational, so while it may not be extreme by internet standards (which we know are non-existent-low) it does seem extreme by MF standards.

  17. I dont’ think Guy Jean is so concerned about the tone of Curzon’s comment. It’s more that he believes his private email address was used by Curzon to draw some personal conclusions which he then referred to publicly in his reply.

    I don’t know if that’s actually what happened, however.

  18. So are we going to continue snubbing Koizumi or Curzon?

    If Guy couldn’t handle the level of the discussion here, then he isn’t a marxist.Me thinks.

    But yeah,maybe we should learn some etiquette to match the politeness of the people who run this blog.That shall be started from myself…..

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