The pensions fiasco and the crumbling LDP

Chris Salzberg of Global Voices Online provides the best single roundup of the widening pensions scandal I’ve seen. Every day brings new twists to this scandal, and Salzberg does a public service by assembling the story into some coherent narrative, with a healthy dollop of quotations from the Japanese blogosphere.

The most striking thing about this has been just how amateur the LDP’s response has been: completely blindsided, the government has stumbled every step of the way. It took weeks — during which they were pummeled every which way — before the government got around to shifting the blame to someone else (Koizumi, Kan Naoto, etc.). You cannot apologize profusely and repeatedly and then shift the blame to someone else. You apologize for it, you own it.

The fact of the matter is that the LDP is not a modern political party. It has not made the leap to the “mass communication” age, Abe’s appointment of a communications adviser notwithstanding, and is thus completely lost in a media environment in which no single voice can prevail. As the Koizumi era recedes into the past, it has become increasingly clear just how much everyone was “hoodwinked” by Koizumi: the modern, urban LDP that Koizumi represented was but a thin veneer covering the fundamentally rotten hulk that has covered Japan into the ground.

The pensions scandal has shown that the LDP remains, as always, a party more concerned with holding power than with good, responsible governance in service of a policy agenda. But whether the voters will punish the LDP for it next month remains to be seen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s