The article wonders about Koizumi Junichiro’s support for Koike Yuriko as a candidate for the premiership and his renewed involvement in politics more generally, particularly his recently formed nonpartisan study groups that may resemble proto-parties. It dismisses Ms. Koike’s prospects — citing Mori Yoshiro — and attributes talk of her candidacy to Mr. Koizumi’s “loose tongue.”
There is something to this complaint regarding the former prime minister. Since his resumption of political activity, the media has taken to reporting on his every word, no matter how mundane. Every public appearance and every prognostication on the political situation receives mention, which in turn heightens speculation about Mr. Koizumi’s intentions, which in turn leads to greater coverage of his activities, and so on — a giant snowball of media speculation based on thin shreds of evidence. Perhaps observers of Japanese politics — myself included — speculate about Mr. Koizumi’s plans because we want Mr. Koizumi to have plans to retake power in a triumphant flourish.
Mr. Koizumi may dream of a return to prominence. He may harbor plans to bolt from the LDP and form his own party. But he has also given few hints as to what his plans might be. Officially, he backs Prime Minister Fukuda and sees no reason why the government should yield to calls for an early election. That’s the extent of what we know; the rest is speculation.
There is, of course, a place for speculation about possible realignment scenarios, but it is necessary to step back from time to time and remember just how little we know about the intentions of the figures likely to play important roles in a political realignment.