Political Tourette’s Syndrome?

The new Diet session is more or less on hold, as the DPJ and other opposition parties have decided to boycott the Lower House’s Budget Committee meetings on supplemental expenditures until Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Yanigasawa resigns.

Although Abe has apologized for his subordinate’s remarks, the opposition has continued to push for resignation.

And not without reason. It’s hard to imagine a cabinet member in any other G7 country calling women machines for giving birth and surviving in office.

As such, contrary to this Yomiuri editorial, which criticizes the DPJ for reviving an old Japanese Socialist Party tactic and putting politics — specifically the desire to solidify the opposition bloc in advance of the July elections — ahead of policy, I see no reason why the opposition should give the Abe Cabinet a pass. Like a person suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome, the Abe Cabinet cannot help but periodically blurt out inappropriate remarks, dating back to the first weeks of Abe’s tenure, when Foreign Minister Aso and LDP policy chief Nakagawa repeatedly mentioned the need for Japan to consider developing nuclear weapons.

Abe is apparently unable to keep his team on message. Why shouldn’t he pay politically for his failings as a party leader and head of government? If it hasn’t happened already, I expect that it is only a matter of time before a serious fight begins within LDP over who will succeed Abe should his numbers continue to dip — and should his missteps result in a catastrophic defeat in July.

Maybe Foreign Minister Aso wasn’t being too hasty in announcing the creation of his own LDP faction, in order to position himself for another run for the party presidency…

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