Into the pig box with them

With the debate within the LDP over the human rights protection bill intensifying, Abe Shinzo, former prime minister, has followed Mr. Aso out of exile and is now openly reunited with his ideological comrades within the LDP. He announced Friday that he is joining Nakagawa Shoichi’s “True Conservative Policy Research Group,” making him the group’s eightieth member.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Mr. Nakagawa continued his campaign against the mooted human rights bill in Osaka. According to Hokkaido Shimbun, at the Osaka LDP chapter’s convention he said, “If the bill is passed, me, former Secretary-General Aso Taro, and former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo could quite possibly go to the ‘pig box’ [detention cell].” Politicians are, of course, prone to over-reliance on hyperbole, but Mr. Nakagawa could win an award for this whopper. With advisers like this around him, it’s no wonder that Mr. Abe’s government was so short-lived.

Even if it were true that the human rights bill could somehow lead to politicians being rounded up and imprisoned — based on the history of the prosecution of crimes by politicians, this is extremely unlikely — is this really the proper way to oppose a piece of legislation? How about an appeal to how it might affect the lives of Japanese citizens?

I still stand by the arguments made in this post. However, a few more comments by Mr. Nakagawa and his comrades might lead me to change my mind — but only if the government strengthens the provisions that supposedly targeting political activity, raising the chances of the nightmare scenario envisioned by Mr. Nakagawa will come to pass. In fact, talk of throwing politicians in jail in a country in which the political class has been loathed for decades is a good way of ensuring that the bill passes.

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