Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Cabinet Begins to Take Shape

Naoto Kan, National Strategy Bureau chief (he will do double duty as the DPJ policy council chairman); Hirohisa Fujii, Finance Minister; Katsuya Okada, Foreign Minister—that’s definite, according to the media. No surprises there if you’ve been following rumors the last few days. The Foreign Ministry is not much of a consolation prize if you want to be at the heart of DPJ policymaking, where the domestic agenda will scarf up all the political capital that the Hatoyama administration can muster. Foreign policy and national security issues will be unwanted distractions to Ichiro Ozawa’s 2010 plans. The silver lining for Okada is that he’ll be insulated from the fallout if the economy and/or DPJ manifesto goes bad, which would put him in a place to pick up the pieces in the event of a 2010 House of Councilors election disaster, not yet a likely event by certainly a plausible one.

I expect Fujui to acquit himself well; Kan’s performance depends, I’d say, on the quality of the staff that he manages to assemble around himself.

No comments: