Friday, July 29, 2011

Who's Next in the DPJ? Who Cares?

I'm finally seeing the end of a marathon paper writing process ­— not the end, mind you, but at least there is an end in sight.

Meanwhile, Shisaku is speculating about the next prime minister once Kan leaves office sometime within the next couple of months. I wonder why he bothers. As he points out himself, it doesn't matter who gets appointed as the other major parties are all obstructing any and all possible legislation with the sole aim of forcing a new general election. Largest opposition LDP is fully prepared to vote against their own proposals if the DPJ supports them, that's how bad it is.

That general election won't happen any time soon. The prime minister decides when to hold it, and as the DPJ is certain to get badly beaten, no DPJ leader with aspirations to any kind of political future is going to call it until they absolutely have to, in 2013. Up until then Japan will continue in a state of political deadlock.

And things are very unlikely to improve after the next election. Both the LDP and the DPJ have amply demonstrated that even majority rule is not enough. They are often unable to actually impose any legislation contrary to the wishes of the state ministries and the large industrial and professional lobby groups. Power company executives have been openly mocking the idea of tougher regulations or government oversight; they know an administration can't do it without consent from ministries that see their job as protecting the industry1, not regulating it.

The stasis will continue, in some form or another. The economy and peoples' lives will suffer for it. Those elected by the public will largely be unable to do anything significant about it, while the unelected power brokers obviously do not care. I'm afraid that things may have to become a lot worse before it ever gets better again.

#1 and their own extremely well-paid post-retirement jobs in said industries.


LdS said...

Enjoy the deadlock! It's the best time for a country to prosper when new laws can't be enacted. We in the USA enjoy the the current time until the next presidential election when balance will probably be re-established.

Janne Morén said...

No. Lack of government is a disaster, albeit a slow-moving one. It's like a house without maintenance; in the short run it's cheap and you see no ill effects, but it deteriorates in the long runs, with some very expensive bills for the future.