On Wednesday, of course, the DPJ-led House of Councillors formally rejected the government’s nomination of Muto Toshiro to be the new president of the BOJ. The government has resubmitted Mr. Muto’s nomination in response. In his daily press conference Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobutaka professed an inability to understand the DPJ’s reasoning and once again highlighted the urgency of a smooth transition to a new BOJ president given prevailing financial conditions.
I must agree with MTC: the DPJ does not bear the blame for this “crisis” alone. For all of Mr. Fukuda’s willingness to cooperate with the opposition, his party and his government have failed to come to terms with new masters of the Upper House. They have refused to accept that they actually have to consult with the DPJ, instead of presenting them with proposals as faits accompli (as they did in the case of Mr. Muto). Not surprisingly, Kitagawa Kazuo, Komeito secretary-general, used this occasion to complain about the constitutional defect of the HC’s role in personnel appointments, illustrating the disdain with which the government still views the opposition’s control of the HC.
If the government is so concerned about a vacancy at the bank, it should have been both (a) making the case for Mr. Muto persistently and loudly starting months ago and (b) exploring alternatives with the DPJ. The LDP is always talking about urgent national problems and yet now, when faced with one, it seems that the government has no plan B. It’s Muto or nothing. Is there really only one man qualified to serve as BOJ president? If so, Japan must be in even worse shape than I thought.
So the HR will pass the Muto nomination again this afternoon, daring the HC to once again reject it. If it does, will the government nominate Mr. Muto a third time? And will the DPJ suffer political consequences as a result of holding fast in its opposition to Mr. Muto?