Rebels get their fingers burnt as LDP rallies: Japan's new party losing credibility
Friday 02 July 1993
Two weeks ago most of Japan was glued to television sets to watch the no-confidence motion being voted on in parliament, when 55 LDP members, led by Tsutomu Hata, a former finance minister, voted against the government or abstained, bringing down prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa's administration and starting a forest fire in Japanese politics. This was widely seen as an inferno which would consume the LDP and Japan's idiosyncratic style of politics.
Amid much fanfare, Mr Hata set up the Shinsei Party, or 'Japan Renewal Party'. Change was in the air - but politics, like a forest fire, is treacherous. The fire is still burning, but the wind has changed direction.
'Just after the dissolution the wind was for Hata, very strongly,' said Takashi Tachibana, a writer and political commentator. 'But now it has changed.' Mr Tachibana says there are two reasons for the cooling of enthusiasm for Mr Hata and his Renewal Party.
The speed with which the Socialists, formerly the largest opposition party, agreed to go into coalition with Mr Hata has discredited them in the eyes of many of their supporters, who cannot see how a nominally left- wing party can suddenly jump into bed with former arch-rivals from the LDP. This caused the Socialists to lose heavily in municipal elections in Tokyo last weekend, and since then the Socialist party has tried to distance itself from Mr Hata.
At the same time, the past is coming back to haunt Mr Hata and Ichiro Ozawa, the real power within the Renewal Party. Both were members of the infamous Takeshita faction while in the LDP, which had refined the art of money politics to a degree that was extraordinary even for Japan. Mr Ozawa is widely seen as a direct political descendant of some of the most spectacularly corrupt men in Japanese politics: former prime minister Kakuei Tanaka, indicted for the Lockheed scandal, former prime minister Noboru Takeshita, felled by the Recruit scandal, and Shin Kanemaru, LDP powerbroker who was disgraced in the recent Sagawa scandal. 'People are starting to reflect on the Tanaka links. And it won't go away,' said Mr Tachibana.
There are more than two weeks to go before the elections. But perhaps sensing that his party was starting to flag, Mr Ozawa made a rare television appearance yesterday. 'People say we should account for our past actions, that we are tainted,' he said. 'But I could have made a compromise with the other factions and survived within the LDP. Anyway it is not up to me, it is up to the voters.'
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...