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 …

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The Kan system

The Kan government has formed, having retained eleven ministers from the Hatoyama government (as expected). Among the new faces in Kan's cabinet of "irregular forces" are Noda Yoshihko (finance), Yamada Masahiko (agriculture), Arai Satoshi (national strategy), Genba Kōichirō (administrative reform), and, perhaps most prominently, Renhō (government revitalization).Looking at the transition from the Hatoyama-Ozawa regime to …

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Can the DPJ legislate a new relationship with the bureaucracy?

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives began debate on the Hatoyama cabinet's bill revising the National Civil Service Law, the first of three cabinet bills intended to introduce political leadership to be considered in the Diet (the others being bills establishing the national strategy bureau and increasing the number of sub-cabinet political appointees).If passed, the …

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A terrible idea from DPJ backbenchers, quickly nixed

On Wednesday Ubukata Yukio, the deputy secretary-general, Tanaka Makiko, Koizumi Junichiro's controversial foreign minister who joined the DPJ last year, and other DPJ Diet members proposed to Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio and DPJ secretary-general Ozawa Ichiro that the party establish a new policy research arm to replace the policy research council that closed shop when …

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Credit where credit is due

Another poll, more bad news for the Hatoyama government.In Jiji Press's February public opinion poll, the Hatoyama government's disapproval rating surpassed its approval rating for the first time, with the former rising twelve points to nearly 45% and the latter falling eleven to nearly 36%. Disapproval among self-described independents rose thirteen points to roughly 46%. …

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Ozawa whips the DPJ and the Diet into shape

Speaking at a convention of the Osaka branch of the DPJ, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano Hirofumi spoke succinctly of the role of the DPJ's backbenchers in the new government. Hirano said that not only is it unnecessary for DPJ backbenchers to ask questions in Diet proceedings, but also the DPJ's many first-term Diet members should …

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