Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Questions (Only) about the Future of the Liberal Democratic Party; and an Unrelated Notice

With little happening on the domestic front by way of headline-grabbing events and there being only so many ways to say that the economy is tanking, the media have turned its attention to pre-mortems of the LDP as we know it. There’s so much chatter from potential instigators—old-guard liberals Koichi Kato and Taku Yamazaki; pro-market reformists Hidenao Nakagawa, Yuriko Koike, Yasuhisa Shiozaki and Yoshimi Watanabe; and even conservative camel-nose Takeo Hiranuma come to mind—that it’s hard to shake the impression that it’s a matter of when, not whether, it will happen and what form it will take. Specifically, will the beginning of the end come before the Lower House election or after? Will it come as a series of small-bore defections, or one big bang? Will the process annihilate the LDP, or will it leave a smaller but more coherent political force in its wake? Will the realignment bug infect the DPJ, with its even greater potential for fractiousness held in bay only by prospects of the spoils of victory, as well as the rest of the opposition? Most important, What policy decisions will be made in the course of these events—or the lack thereof in the unlikely event that little of import happens—and how will they affect the course of the Japanese economy and its components as well as Japan’s relations with its allies, neighbors and the rest of the world?

So many questions, but no answers and few meaningful thoughts, at least from me. I hope to the find the coming months more informative for this blog. In the meantime, the kind people at Trans-Pacific Radio requests that I post the following message regarding an upcoming real-world blogfest. (Blog-con? Blorgy?) I have some scheduling problems for the Saturday event, but I’ll do my best to be there myself. For those of you who will not be in the Kanto area, wish you could be there. Happy holidays.
A gathering for bloggers and blog enthusiasts is being planned in Tokyo for the evening of January 17, and we would like to extend the invitation to any and all visitors who may wish to come. Bloggers from Observing Japan, Shisaku, Global Talk 21, Mutant Frog, Coming Anarchy, Trans-Pacific Radio and more will be amongst the crowd.

All of us are hoping to meet with other bloggers and readers for an evening of food an drink. If you would like to attend, please send an email to before January 8th. Please let us know how many folks you would like to bring along with you. Although we have a place in mind for the get-together, we will wait to see what the final numbers are like before confirming. We expect that the gathering will be held in either Shibuya or Shinjuku. After we have confirmed the numbers and location, we will send you an email letting you know exactly where and when (probably about 6pm) we will be meeting up on the 17th.

We hope to see you all on the 17th of January!


Julián Ortega Martínez said...

Jun-san, I want to wish you and all your readers a Happy New Year 2009. Thanks for helping us understand Japanese politics, with MTC, Tobias, the Mutant Frog and the Transpacific Radio fellows. Cheers from the other side of the Pacific.

Jun Okumura said...

Julián, a Feliz Año Nuevo to you too. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say, wish you were here, for the January 17 festivities.