Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is the LDP-New Kōmeitō Coalition Following My Game Plan?

As expected, the DPJ said no to Kōji Tanami, the latest sacrificial lamb on the BOJ Governorship altar. There are two ways to interpret this: Prime Minister Fukuda is nuts; or, there’s a game plan. Since the first one leads nowhere unless you’re a diehard DPJ fan or an LDP member seeking to depose Mr. Fukuda, I, as an Independent, have no option but to hypothesize that there is a game plan. And if there is one, then this looks as good as any, no*?

Well, today, even while the LDP-New Kōmeitō were pushing Mr. Tanami’s doomed candidacy, the coalition got together and worked all day to hammer out a gasoline tax/road construction budget game plan. It culminated in Prime Minister Fukuda’s five-point plan “Our Thinking on the Road-Specific Fiscal Revenues:**

1) Pass tax bills during this fiscal year [before 1 April];
2) reexamine the road-specific revenue with a view to turning it into general-purpose revenue as part of the fundamental reform of the tax system;
3) Re-examine the mid-term road provisioning plan for including its [ten-year] term;
4) [Promote] transparency and discipline with regard to the road budget, including expenditures to public interest legal entities; and
5) Consult with the opposition parties after coordinating within the ruling [coalition].

If anything, they went beyond my “message”. But then, you can’t win ‘em all. Besides, something may have been lost in translation. But I digress. Luckily for the coalition, Naoto Kan, one of Ichirō Ozawa’s two deputies and once and (hoping to be) future king, rejected it even before it had been announced*.

As for Mr. Tanami, you need not shed a tear for him. He remains ensconced as the head of the Bank of International Cooperation (for which I have a special place in my heart, having come up with its English name when OECF and the Ex-Im Bank merged to form JBIC), after gaining some political brownie points for his momentary humiliation.

Speaking of “advice”, I have been reminded that “the [Japanese government] has followed [DMr. Dujarric’s] advice and recognized Kosovo.***” Well, is it my fault the LDP prefers to listen to American Japan handlers and ignore the concerns of Japanese voters like me?

FYI, Serbia recalled its ambassador to Japan in protest.

* Mr. Kan also said, “We were 99% willing to accept just about anybody.” That’s one of the faults of the DPJ leadership. They’re too honest to be really effective politicians.

** Is he finally getting the hang of it?

ADD. *** Actually, it was Robert himself that reminded me.

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