Fukuda the unflappable

The DPJ has decided that it will submit a censure motion against the government on Wednesday, as planned. The LDP and Komeito agreed Tuesday that it will extend the Diet session by six days to 21 June to ensure the automatic passage of the economic partnership agreement (EPA) with ASEAN (the one-month period during which the HC has to act on a treaty expires on 21 June).

In other words, the government will carry on its business for ten days in the shadow of the upper house’s non-binding censure resolution.

Ozawa Ichiro admitted Monday that the timing of the motion has little to do with the eldercare system debate. The censure is “all inclusive,” an all-encompassing critique of the government’s conduct. That actually makes it even less effective than if the motion were specifically targeted at some issue. Now the DPJ is just bleating in futile opposition to the government. Perhaps it should save its “all-encompassing” censure of the government for the election campaign, when it could actually make a difference. The extension of the Diet session two days after the censure motion will make it even more clear just how impotent the DPJ is. The DPJ will censure, and the government will carry on with business as usual.

It appears that Fukuda Yasuo is feeling more confident as the Diet session comes to an end, even after the government’s defeat in the Okinawan prefectural assembly set off a new round of panic within the ranks of the LDP and Komeito about the electoral consequences of the new eldercare system. He is apparently looking to the future, to his moment on the world stage in Toyako next month and to plans for the government’s agenda in the autumn. Despite the fears within the government, on Monday Mr. Fukuda waved off the idea of an early election, suggesting that doing so would deepen the paralysis in the political system. He is prepared to lead the LDP into the next general election, even if large swathes of his party are increasingly unhappy at the thought.

Nevertheless, Mr. Fukuda’s grace under fire is impressive. Time will tell whether it’s foolish.

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