Playing politics

For the second time in as many days, I have read of LDP members complaining of the DPJ’s “playing politics” with matters of national import.

Yesterday I mentioned that Ibuki Bunmei complained about the DPJ’s introducing politics into the debate over BOJ succession.

Today I read a column by Nakagawa Shoichi in which he chides the DPJ for playing politics in calling for Mr. Ishiba’s resignation. “They should not be troublesome solely for reasons of parliamentary tactics,” he writes.

This tendency for ruling parties to claim that opposition parties are playing politics with some important policy matters is probably universal. US Republicans have been doing it to Democrats on national security for decades — see this recent example. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that LDP Diet members are complaining about the DPJ’s supposedly placing politics before the national interest.

The LDP is, of course, struggling to define the narrative in advance of the next general election. Will the general election be about the ongoing series of policy failures and poor governance by the LDP, as the DPJ would prefer, or will it be about the DPJ’s supposed inability to run a government? It seems hard to believe that the LDP will have a strong showing running from that position. If an election were held today or soon, what achievements could the LDP use to illustrate its fitness to govern? For all the talk by Mr. Fukuda about shaping policy to take into account the concerns of the Japanese people, it has remained talk. The Japanese people are insecure because of the LDP’s failings, not because of the DPJ’s “playing politics.”

“My fear,” Mr. Nakagawa writes, “is that confidence in the Defense Ministry, responsible for security, is being lost. Without the confidence of the people, the ministry cannot ensure the security of the nation.”

Who, Mr. Nakagawa, is responsible, whether through sins of commission or omission, for the deplorable state of affairs in the defense establishment?

Playing politics? The LDP has spent decades playing politics by making it possible for private interests to pervert public policy to their ends, not least in the Defense Ministry, where trading companies have stuffed their pockets with public funds with the LDP’s consent.

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