I’ve been saying that the DPJ must dump the SDP in order to bring more coherence to policymaking. But the latest uproar over the joint official announcement on Japan Post by cabinet ministers “Anything But” Shizuka Kamei and Haraguchi to raise the JP deposit limit from 10 million yen to 20 million yen and insurance limit from 13 million to 25 million among other things—I’ll come back to this later if time and professional obligations allow—is yet another piece of proof that the PNP (actually Kamei’s one-man show since Tamisuke Watanuki and Hisaoki Kamei lost their seats in the 2009 Lower House election) is a more expensive drag on the DPJ policy agenda.
Kamei is one of the shrewdest political operators around. He makes outlandish demands, but will settle for what he can get. He has been supremely successful in this game—except for a once-in-lifetime miscalculation in 2005, when Prime Minister Koizumi made good on his threat to toss the LDP Lower House members who voted against his JP privatization bill. Fast-forward to 2010, when the first two rounds of contradictory statements among coalition notables have taken up the better part of the last two days: Kamei’s announcement, the complaints from the other cabinet ministers, Hatoyama’s attempt to play both sides of the debate, Kamei’s counterclaim I had the prime minister’s consent!, Hatoyama and his chief cabinet secretary’s counter-counterstatements---but you get the picture.
However, if the DPJ loses enough seats in the July Upper House election to prevent the current three-party coalition to command a there, the SDP and PNP can become useless, since Komeito—at a minimum likely to break even—will be able to give the DPJ a majority all by its lonesome self. And as I’ve been saying for some time now, Komeito is the natural coalition partner for the DPJ. Now, Komeito may decide to stay out of the cabinet and cooperate on a case by case basis. But how can that be as bad as cohabitation with incompatible bedmates?