Following the leader

Michael Cucek catches a comment from LDP Secretary-General Ishiba Shigeru at a public appearance in Kagawa. 

Ishiba said, “The Liberal Democratic Party is a party for doing what?…First and foremost, it a party for the revision of the Constitution.” 

Cucek raises some useful questions about what this statement means, but I wonder whether Ishiba wasn’t just being extremely literal.

After all, revising the constitution is right there in the party’s founding documents. In the party platform of 15 November 1955, the sixth and last (but arguably not least) proposal says that the party will “plan for independent revision of the current constitution and reexamine Occupation-era laws, changing them to conform with national conditions.” The same plank says “in order to protect world peace, state independence, and popular freedom,” the LDP will create a self-defense force and prepare for the removal of foreign troops stationed on Japanese soil (i.e., the US military). 

But to try to answer Cucek’s questions, I don’t know if the Westminsterization is really all that stealthy. If a prime minister knows what he wants to do, has the public behind him, and faces no real opposition from within his own party, one should not be surprised that even a politician with an independent base of support like Ishiba would have to follow the leader, right down to his rhetoric. 

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot standing in the way of Abe Shinzō’s completing the work of his grandfather and the other fathers of the LDP.

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