A pyrrhic victory

Japan’s “temporary” gasoline surcharge holiday is over, just as the Japanese people set off on their Golden Week holidays.

The government will use its HR supermajority to reinstate the temporary tax Wednesday, ensuring that the surcharge is in place for the start of the new month.

The opposition parties have, of course, strongly criticized the government’s decision to proceed as contrary to the will of the people. The DPJ’s “gasoline price reduction brigade,” an organization of younger DPJ members that played an important role in the early stages of this debate in bringing this issue to the top of the agenda, was particularly apoplectic in its response to the government’s widely expected decision to proceed as planned.

Based on the government’s own statements about its plan to pass the tax bill again today, it appears that there is little doubt that the LDP and Komeito will be able to line up all of their members in favor of renewing the temporary tax.

The DPJ and the other opposition parties may have lost the battle, but if the Yamaguchi-2 by-election was any indication, another victory like this and Mr. Fukuda is done for.

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