Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Good News and Bad News (or Bad News and Good News): The Abe Administration Is Getting Better at Damage Control.

In a news conference late this afternoon, Genichiro Sada expressed his intent to resign as Administrative Reforms Minister.

What the administration got right: They did not let the issue linger; the end came swiftly. They averted a media and DPJ frenzy.

What they did wrong: They let him go public (albeit, as it turned out, to announce his resignation) as if they couldn't/wouldn't make the decision themselves. The Abe administration should at least have telegraphed the notion that they had already made the decision and that Mr. Sada's public appearance would be a pro forma, mea culpa public hara-kiri act of atonement.

It is obvious that the Abe administration is going up the learning curve, and fast, literally by the day. If they get any better, they can go into business as risk management consultants. If they get the chance to become any better than that, they may have no choice.


Ken said...

Sounds like you're only seeing doom for the Abe administration. I'm not sure about hiring them on as risk management consultants, but I'd for sure shy away from their PR consulting skills, given that they can't put out of unified message. I do wonder if Aso's comments have been intended to create a split in the kantei. Nakagawa, who is close to Abe, hasn't helped much either.

What I find interesting is how Sada's resignation sounds a lot like Powell's or Rumsfeld's. In each case they stepped down, seemingly on their own terms. And Bush says he's the decider.

Jun Okumura said...


I recently discovered Trans-Pacific Radio, and I like it very much. Not that I agree with everything I see there, but that's the whole point. Too often, a political blog is one big tailgate party for the home team, or which merely serve as a place to trade insults. The ones that cover Japan are relatively free of those ailments, but often suffer from a lack of traffic, mine included.

Keep it, up, Ken. We all need the competition.

As for the Sada resignation, the situation was even worse, if the Yomiuri is to be believed. The Yomiuri reports that the kantei did not realize that Mr. Sada intended to resign when they decided to have him go public with a mea culpa. Mr. Aso obviously has his own agenda. But his chronic foot-in-mouth disease makes it difficult to discern the extent to which any particular comment of his is calculated. By Mr. Nakagawa, I assume you are referring to Shoichi Nakagawa. This Nakagawa is close to Mr. Abe ideologically, as you say. Temperamentally, however, the two are miles apart. Mr. Nakagawa just can't keep it in, a virtue as a thinker, but often a minus as a politician. But he's not in that business to be nice to people. Expect more of the same.

FInally, Mr. Rumsfeld go down on his own terms? And Mr. Powell was all but being showed the door by the hardliners.

Jun Okumura said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken said...

Thanks for the words...and I don't even agree with what I write on TPR most of the time, but as you say, it's meant to get conversation going.

I meant that Powell and Rumsfeld had press conferences and announced their resignations. There was no, "We'd like to announce that this guy is fired" sort of thing...

I'm out of Japan for a few more days, so it's a bit hard to follow the political news...would like to get more info on the Sada incident, but it's about time for another long drive and shopping.