No better time for Koizumi Junichiro — who is, as discussed in this post, still more popular among LDP supporters and the public at large than Mr. Fukuda and his likely successors — to begin playing a role defending the government.
On Tuesday, Mr. Koizumi met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, and stated that he thinks that a mooted HC censure motion will not have the support of the public. The government has already started to make the case that it has nothing to fear from a censure motion, and it will need all the help it can get in prelude and aftermath to the HR vote.
Whether Mr. Koizumi has the power to blunt public opinion running against the government may be tested this week. The LDP executive has stated its desire to harness Mr. Koizumi’s popularity and use him to explain the government’s new pensions plan to concerned elderly voters who may be leaning towards Hiraoka Hideo.
Unlike the Abe cabinet, which did everything it could to distance itself from the former prime minister, Mr. Fukuda and his leadership team have no concerns about letting Mr. Koizumi overshadow the prime minister if it means a victory for the party, whether in Yamaguchi-2 or in the showdown with the DPJ over the temporary tax.
Asahi reported that the LDP executive wants Mr. Koizumi’s help. But no word on whether Mr. Koizumi wants to help — or whether his active support will be able to reverse Mr. Fukuda’s declining popularity.