Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mystified by LDP Decision to Censure Noda for Conspiring with the Tax Hike Bill

Whee! I am whole again! For the week. Now…

If you’ve following Japanese politics for a living or too closely for your own good, you know by now that (a) two censure motions against the Noda cabinet were submitted in the upper house, one by seven of the smaller parties chastising the Noda cabinet for conspiring with the LDP and Komeito to pass the consumption tax hike (and a few other things) bill and another by the LDP and Komeito because… because they wanted a snap election ASAP and (b) the LDP voted for the first censure motion that chastised, to repeat, “the Noda cabinet for conspiring with the LDP and Komeito to pass the consumption tax hike,” which essentially closed down the Diet for the remainder of the ongoing Diet session.

Now what’s surprising to me is not that the LDP decided to in essence censure itself. No, expedience causes one to do strange things. Like… Whatever. What I don’t understand is why the LDP felt that it had to. After all, it could have sat out the vote, just like Komeito did, then voted with Komeito on their own censure motion, their 106 votes (LDP 82, the septuagenarian New Sunrise Party (no doubt inspired by the movie Sunshine Boys) 3, independent 2; Komeito 19) against the Noda cabinet’s 91 (DPJ 88, PNP3). It would have run (c) the minimal risk of the Microscopic Seven voting against the DPJ-PNP motion—yeah, sure—and (d) the significantly larger risk of the President of the House of Councillors, by custom from the party with the most upper house members, i.e. the DPJ, ruling that one censure motion is enough for one Diet session. As absurd as any such claim may seem, it would have been rendered moot anyway by the LDP and Komeito when they submitted a motion to unseat the House President, a motion that would have reprised minimal risk (c), the risk that the Microscopic Seven would vote against the motion instead of sitting it out. But, nothing ventured, noting gained.

I don’t see this as helping the Noda administration and the DPJ with the Japanese body politic, but it does hurt Sadakazu Tanigaki and the rest of the current LDP (most prominently Nobuteru Ishihara, who is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the LDP) and it must be heartening for Noda to see the Red Queen slipping back. But it does help Shigeru Ishiba, who was shielded from the shenanigans by way of his distance from the LDP commissariat. If it helps him too much, first Tanigaki, then Noda, will suffer when they go up against Ishiba’s street cred in the DPJ leadership and the lower house general election, respectively, in that chronological order.


MTC said...


Should I take it that you do not believe the timing of the submission of the Microscopic Seven's censure motion dented the LDP's and New Komeito's plans earlier this month to first vote for the social welfare and pension package, then turn around and submit a censure measure?

Jun Okumura said...

Of course I do, MTC, as far as its own censure motion is concerned. My point is that the risk that the LDP avoided by doing so was so minimal that it didn't seem worth the embarrassment.