This is getting ridiculous

Back in May, in wake of Mr. Matsuoka’s suicide and the nomination of Mr. Akagi to be his replacement, back when it wasn’t clear whether Mr. Abe would lead his party to its worst ever defeat at the polls, I noted, semi-facetiously, in a post on Mr. Akagi, “No cabinet-eligible LDP politician has clean hands.”

Now we learn, thanks to MTC, that yet another member of the Abe Cabinet has been accused of misusing political funds: Suga Yoshihide, minister of internal affairs and communications. Perhaps given that up until this point Suga has been scandal-free, rumors suggested that he would be given an important post in the new cabinet (at one point I recall reading that he was being considered for chief cabinet secretary).

But with Nakagawa Hidenao, outgoing LDP secretary-general, suggesting that members joining the cabinet must have clean records, suddenly it looks like there may be another opening in the new cabinet.

Nakagawa’s rule is laughable, in light of what seems to be a universal problem in the LDP (and maybe even in the DPJ, for all we know). Violating the political funds law appears to be a way of life for LDP members — and for what? As Tahara Soichiro wrote in an article mentioned in this post, the funds seem to be going to provide meal and entertainment expenses so that members can entertain constituents and supporters when they visit Tokyo. And for that the majority of the LDP seems to be disqualified from holding ministerial positions.

At some point, when a law is respected largely in the breach, it may be time to reconsider the provisions of the law.

In the meantime, however, this latest scandal should further demolish any expectations that the new Abe Cabinet will be more successful than the last. Perhaps Abe’s remaining in office is the best of all situations. A few more months of Mr. Abe could guarantee a DPJ victory in the next general election, forcing the LDP to spend time in the political wilderness thinking about its future.

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