That is the headline on a Mainichi article discussing the appointment of Masuzoe Yoichi as the new minister of healthy and welfare. Mr. Masuzoe, you will recall, was one of the fiercest critics of Mr. Abe’s staying in office, arguing that the prime minister’s decision ignored the will of the people as expressed in the Upper House elections.
Abe said in a press conference late Monday that he appointed Masuzoe to the critical post because he is capable of explaining to the people due to his “deep knowledge of pensions.” Masuzoe was equally nonchalant about his appointment, saying, “Criticism is criticism. Now we must make the LDP one.”
On some level, the prime minister deserves credit for bringing a staunch opponent into his cabinet, but the real credit will be earned when we see the impact Masuzoe has on the Abe government. Is he being brought into the government to be silenced, or will his presence actually serve to make the government more responsible to the voters, more honest about its mistakes, and more amenable to compromise and moderation? In other words, will Masuzoe have more impact on the Abe cabinet than the Abe cabinet has on him?