Blogger.com says that the following response to Mark’s comment is too long, so I’m posting it here. Sorry I don’t have time to post on the ongoing chicken race between Kamei and the DPJ. Will Kan call Kamei’s bluff? Stay tuned.
As a typical floater voter, I have my own set of wishes, but my aunts stubbornly refuse to turn into teacarts. So you’ll have to content yourself with what I think is likely/unlikely as per my current line of work, and I’m not going in the policy implications:
Now that it seems likely Japan will realign its political parties, I thought I’d weigh in with some suggestions.
I’d like to see the SDP and the JCP merge. This new party would focus on providing social security, child care, health care, and education. It would support government spending in those areas, but not necessarily in public works. It would try and raise taxes on the rich (particularly the capital gains tax). It would oppose raising the sales tax. It would try to reduce defense spending and it would do its best to uphold Article 9. It would call for a reduction in U.S. forces in Japan. It would also call for strong regulations for industry.
Policy-wise, a merger makes sense. It won’t happen. There’s too much history behind them. Besides, the remainder of the old Socialists that form the SDP are too unruly a group—reminds you a bit of the US Democratic Party—to be able to submerge themselves in the orderly, disciplined world of the JCP.
I’d like to see the Ozawa faction split off from Minshuto and form a new party called the Rural Revival Party. This party would be a sort of pork barrel politics party, focused on spending money in rural areas to win votes. It would, of course, oppose redistricting. I think Kokumin Shinto should get merged into this new party, as the new party would try to boost Japan Post and its affiliates, particularly in rural areas. This party would also oppose raising the sales tax. It would support infrastructure projects.
Makes a lot of sense. And don’t rule out the possibility of likeminded friends in the LDP joining them. Think big, Mark.
I’d like to see Your Party merged into what’s left of Minshuto. Yoshimi Watanabe, Yukio Edano, Seiji Maehara, Katsuya Okada, and Renho would be in this party. This party would focus on transparency, accountability, and the control of the bureaucracy by the politicians. This party would focus on reducing wasteful government spending, particularly public works spending.
What do you mean, “what’s left of Minshuto”? I’m willing to take under 100 in the over/under on the number of Diet members that Ozawa will be able to take with him if he decides to split. That said, your “New Party” does make sense—in the mid- to long-term. I don’t think that will happen before the next lower house election though; The post-boomers in Your Party has to see how far they can take its current configuration before they decide to submerge its identity in a bigger whole.
I’d like to see Shinzo Abe, Shigeru Ishiba, and Yuriko Koike move over to Tachiagare Nippon. This party would focus on international affairs. It might call for revising Article 9. It might call for increasing the ODA budget. It would call for reducing social welfare spending and public works spending. It would try to balance the budget.
Did you say Tachigare Nippon? Kidding. No. they are not a good fit.
What’s left of the LDP can form a new party called Kanryoto. This party would include Shinjiro Koizumi, Tadamori Oshima, and Taro Aso. This party would let the bureaucrats do what they want while the politicians did their political theater.
Doesn’t make sense, and that’s not what they are about, individually.
I don’t think it’s necessary for Japanese parties to have different trade policies. Japan already has low tariffs, which means making trade deals makes sense for Japan. The only thing Japan has to protect is its agriculture sector. Given that Japan only produces 40% of the food it consumes, I don’t think it makes sense for Japan to reduce protection in that industry.
But we could have a more rational agricultural policy, which would call for a different trade policy.
I don’t think immigration should be a focus of the new parties. I don’t think Japanese voters want a substantial increase in immigration and I don’t think it makes sense for Japan to do that. There aren’t many politicians who want that anyways. Hopefully, in the next election, Hidenao Nakagawa will lose and go away.
Don’t worry, it won’t be. Not yet.
As for the other parties, I’d break them up and have their members join the remaining parties.
That’s possible only when (if?) Daisaku Ikeda passes away.