1) putting the social safety net on a sound footing by raising the consumption tax rate; andrevive the arguably two most important policy goals that Ichiro Ozawa threw under the bus when he beat Kan in the 2006 DPJ leadership election. His efforts to sideline Ozawa and his minions point to another key element of what the DPJ stood for until its fateful merger with the Ozawa forces—no more politics as usual. So why isn’t anyone giving Kan any credit for this? Or at least taking note? Could it be the reflection of an anti-DPJ bias in the MSM, which some political scientists (SR, JC, etc.) whom I know and respect claim exists?
2) pushing economic reform by re-linking agricultural subsidies to FTAs—I’m talking about his bid to have Japan join the US initiative on an expanded Trans-Pacific partnership
I lay the blame squarely at the doorsteps of the prime minister’s office. Circumstances aside, it’s due to Kan’s inability to project a coherent political message and stick to it. In fact, if there’s one thing that the Founding Fathers of the ultimately successful anti-LDP movement—Ozawa, Kan, Hatoyama—it’s their inability to articulate what they stand for (something that has surprised me in Kan’s case) and give the appearance of staying on message. Another common thread that binds them, though, is their stubbornness. And that is what keeps their clocks ticking, even Hatoyama’s, who has decided that he is indispensable to Japanese politics after all. And keeps Kan plugging away, to turn the clock back to the future, the future that the DPJ saw, before it lent the eaves to Ozawa and almost lost the house.
Give Kan credit though; he isn’t giving up any time soon, like some beta version of the first-generation Terminator.