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Kan survives challenge by Ozawa
Article added on September 14, 2010

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On early Tuesday morning, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has survived a challenge by his Democratic Party rival Ichiro Ozawa. He won by 721 points to 491 points. The weighted votes do not fully translate the narrowness of the vote among people who count on the national level. Among Democratic Party (DPJ) members of Parliament, Kan only won 206 votes, with Ozawa garnering 200 votes.

Members of parliament remember that Ichiro Ozawa was the architect behind the Democratic Party's win in the 2009 election. They care less about Ozawa's image as a shady politician involved in corruption and party financing scandals and more about keeping their seats thanks to a skillful strategist, powerbroker and backroom dealer.

In his tearful speech before the party vote in a Tokyo hotel, Naoto Kan pledged to fix the Japanese economy by ending deflation and creating new jobs. At the same time, the Prime Minister has to curb the gigantic Japanese debt which stands at almost 200% of GDP. The debt alone could sink the economy anytime. If creditors get nervous about the Japanese State being able to service its debt - paying it back would take decades of high budget surpluses and is out of sight anyway - Japanese interest rates will skyrocket.

Whether t
he “irritable Kan” (Ira-Kan) - the nickname is a reference to his quick temper - is able to turn the Japanese economy around remains a big question. Fiscal discipline has not been the trademark of Japanese politics. Even the only prime minister with charisma, the colorful Junichiro Koizumi, although he made some steps in the right direction, has not been able to turn the situation around. Can the pale Naoto Kan surpass himself? He is said to be both a pragmatist and a populist. Which side of him will prevail? Fiscal consolidation should be on the agenda. In the midst of the crisis and after the DPJ win, the electorate seemed to be ready to swallow bitter pills. Has Kan already missed the moment to implement new policies? What will Ozawa do?

Dull politicians such as Shinzo Abe have helped sink the electoral appeal of the LDP. But what finally made the
historic win by the opposition in 2009 possible was less the brilliance of the Democratic Party than the depth of the economic crisis in Japan. Many voters thought that it could not get worse anyway. Why not give the opposition a chance? The end of LDP rule was important for the renewal of Japanese politics and even for the sake of democracy in the land of the rising sun, but now the Democratic Party has to show that it can actually govern. So far, Hatoyama (French article) has failed and Kan has not done much better.

The DPJ-led coalition has already lost its majority in the July 2010 Upper House election, mainly thanks to a sales tax rise announced just before the voters headed to the ballot boxes. Its time to turn the situation around. May the fiscal conservative Naoto Kan please stand up!


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Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

Index  Advertise  Werbung  Links  Feedback
© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.