Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Shūchoku Nakagawa Please Stand Up…

…and please…leave the room?

Page one of the evening edition Yomiuri is putting up, as I expected, Masuzoe, Ishiba and Ishihara—the headline belongs, of course, to Hatoyama, but at least they made it to page one without committing a crime, and that should count—and…do my eyes deceive me? Sadakazu Tanigaki? Oh well, so much for my predictive powers. At least Hidenao Nakagawa’s ambitions have been relegated to page two.

What those four men—Masuzoe, Ishiba, Ishihara and Tanigaki have in common, of course, is that none of them lost an SMD election—Masuzoe is an Upper House member. And Big Nakagawa lost. It’s as simple as that. But where’s the right-wing shift that experts have been looking for post-election? Why Tanigaki’s—yes, I find even the speculation hard to believe, though I find him personally so likeable—LDP old school-left to Ishihara’s LDP technocrat-center?

In a word, face. The LDP right does not have a convenient babyface on deck. You can bet that if the LDP right had a Hiranuma in waiting, it would have forced him on the rest of the LDP, and the rest of the LDP would have gone along.

As if we shouldn’t have expected this from a party that was willing to elect in succession a nativist-moderate (Yoshiro Mori), an opportunist-dove (Junichiro Koizumi), a nationalist-conservative (Shinzo Abe), old-school-dove (Yasuo Fukuda), and a nationalist-moderate (Taro Aso) after the first one turned out to be a PR disaster.

I’ll get back to that, Ross. But for today, I am whacked, it’s 10 PM already.

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