A choice or a wash

On Monday, the Sentaku Diet members’ league held its inaugural meeting, drawing 107 members from four parties. Sankei provides a handy list of members in this article.

Sounding curiously similar to a political party for a nonpartisan political movement, the group announced five goals as its program: (1) detailed electoral manifestos (2) Diet reform, (3) regional decentralization, (4) administrative reform, and (5) stronger environmental policy.

As the discussion at MTC’s post on this meeting suggests, it is not exactly clear what to make of this organization. It is, as MTC’s handy analysis of the 107 members shows, an agglomeration of younger, policy-oriented Diet members from both houses who hold district seats. Is it the beginning of a new party? Will it actually be able to force the leadership of any party to change course?

I still stand by what I wrote in this post: “…They will run firmly into the twin walls that are the DPJ’s imperative to oppose the government and differentiate itself from the LDP, and the LDP’s imperative to shore up its support in rural Japan in advance of a general election.”

There is another problem: ideas don’t sell themselves. No matter how sound Sentaku‘s policy ideas, they still need an effective advocate. And, of course, effective advocates can elevate meager, mediocre or non-existent platforms to new heights. The presence of a leader who will can serve as the movement’s face will determine whether Sentaku is to serve as something more than a way to pass the time until the next general election, whether it will become a genuine choice in Japanese politics — or whether it will be a wash.

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)

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