Monday, January 05, 2009

Damn If He Doesn’t, Damn If He Does—Big Nakagawa on Taro Aso; Plus, Nakagawa Stakes out Claim as Reformist Leader

December 12, When the FY2009 LDP-New Komeito Guideline for Tax Law Amendments ignored Prime Minister Aso’s wishes and failed to explicitly state the timing of the consumption tax hike:

“When the people responsible within the chain of command for laying down policy ignore the Prime Minister’s instructions, that’s like shooting [him] in the back with a rifle. The Prime Minister’s war staff fails to do the nemawashi so that there will be absolutely no wavering from his instructions. Cebinet members and party officials must protect the authority of the Prime Minister.”
So was Nakagawa supporting Aso or what? In case anyone wondered, fast forward to:
Jaunary 4, When Prime Minister Aso stated in his first press conference of the year that, in fighting the next Lower House election, he would emphasize the need to raise the consumption tax rate after the economy recovers:

“This is not the time to talk about a tax hike. To talk about a tax hike while there are expectations of negative growth raises prospects of another drop into the depths of economic recession.”
That figures. But that’s just for starters. Hidenao Nakagawa has emerged out of his self-imposed purgatory (where he had spent the past year in penitence for the 2007 Upper House election debacle) and is on the move. On New Year’s Day, he laid out his policy platform, which builds on the Koizumi-Takenaka reforms and is supported, I assume, by the economic and bureaucratic expertise of Yoichi Takahashi, once MOF elite and one of Takenaka’s closest and most important associates. Nakagawa is in effect staking out his claim to the mantle of the LDP reformist wing in anticipation of a post-election realignment, aware that no one among the 50- and 40-somethings has managed to break out as the leader of the pack.

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