Yesterday, on August 26, the LDP announced the appointment of 21 party members to its National Strategy Headquarters leadership, headed by Yasuo Fukuda, party President. Hidenao Nakagawa, deputy party leader under Minister Koizumi but sidelined in the traditionally conservative Fukuda regime, had been already been appointed as acting NSH chief, among other things to work out the LDP policy manifest for the next Lower House election. The appointment was seen as an expression of the Fukuda regime’s intent not to abandon the reform process. Moreover, the latest list of appointments includes not only regular party leaders such as the Chairmen of the General Council and the Policy Research Council but a number of other reformist allies of Mr. Nakagawa including Takahisa Shiozaki, Yoshimi Watanabe and Yuriko Koike. In fact, Ms. Koike has been put in charge of the “Mid- to Long-Term Vision Development Committee”, which appears to be the forum for drafting the policy manifest. All this could have spelled trouble as late as a couple of months ago. However, as the economy has worsened, the LDP conservatives have been edging away from fiscal probity in the short-run, so the two sides will now be easier to reconcile.
There’s little more that I can tell you about the NSH with any certainty, though. The NSH website was last updated on 2003 June 19. It is still headlined by Prime Minister Koizumi, and has two dead ex-Prime Ministers on its list of senior advisors*. A search for “国家戦略本部” (the original Japanese for National Strategy Headquarters) on the LDP website turns up zero hits. So where have I heard this story before.