|WHEN IS THE LDP GOING TO SPLIT?|
by Shin-ichiro Kurimoto
Member of the House of Representatives
|It is my conviction that the LDP
will split in not so distant a future, as I have projected in my recent books, "Study
On The LDP" (original title "Jiminto-No-Kenkyu", pub. by Kobunsha) and
"Secrets and Structure of Modern Politics" (original title
"Gendaiseiji-No-Himitsu-To-Kozo", pub. by Toyo Keizai Shinposha). My reasoning
is as follows:
We should perceive these three conditions given above as something that we have never encountered in the past. Particularly, the second point above will have the most critical impact on the present LDP mainstream,
When Ichiro Ozawa splintered the LDP some years ago, great expectations were entertained of him as the boss of the reformists, as well as the one who would be able to look after them in elections. In that exaltation, there were cases in which even secretaries to some municipal assemblymen ran for the general election at that time and became MPs. It naturally resulted in a fission of the LDP. Since then, most of the incumbents of Ozawa's party at that time, however, have returned, in some way or other, to their old haunt, the LDP. The trickle has not come to a complete halt yet, but its pace has been slowed considerably since Hatoyama became the party chief.
All these changes of politicians' party labels are for the sake of elections, nothing else. Japanese politics is hardly driven by policies and ideas. 90% of the time, what's fueling it is speculations and anticipations towards upcoming elections. Political ideas and policy debates play a far less significant role.
The lively debates now going on in the political circles signify that there has occurred a situation in which the Japanese politics, given a momentum of an election, can be split and reorganized into two groups: one will be subservient to international financial capitains, and the other will advocate a more independent stance. My forecast is that the next general election will not take place until the summer or autumn of the year 2000; because the Obuchi Administration will do everything they can to tide over the Okinawa Summit scheduled for June. And I anticipate that it will be carried out all right, since he can expect to receive an all-out support from the United States, which evidently wishes to impress the world that Japan is one of its proteges. So I'm afraid that the anticipated split of the LDP may not take place before the election.
Apart from the election, another decisive factor is how far and fast Kato and Yamazaki will go in their preparations for an alliance. I guess that Hatoyama is prepared to accept a union with them at any time, whereas Kato and Yamazaki may have difficulties splintering off right away in view of the fact that they were mainstays of the LDP until recently.
The Dietmen in general have a surprisingly keen sense of smell for approaching elections, and they may be compared to extremely efficient weather vanes which respond to wind changes.
My scenario of how things may be moving towards next year's election looks like this. The LDP may not be able to expect support from Takeshita as before. After Clinton, there will be no Gore Administration, which the financial captains have expected to use as a puppet. A Republican Administration to be led by Bush Junior will be a more likely choice. The speculative money that has flowed into the Japanese markets from the United States for profit taking will have flighted to Europe by then. Katsuhiko Shirakawa, who has questioned the constitutionality of the Ji-ji-ko coalition, will have gained more political strength. Under such circumstances, an extra push like Makiko Tanaka's participation in the splinter force would cause the LDP to split up. Except for the Tanaka issue, I am quite confident that my scenario will become a reality.
Translation by Triking
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