Sep 3, 2011

It's the End of the Ozawa Era and Time to Build New Japanese Democracy.

Yoshihiko Noda became a new leader of The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and a new Prime Minister of Japan. I'll write about the significance of this news.

You can understand the background of Mr. Noda's becoming a new Prime Minister by the journal "The new Prime Minister" (from "En Route"). And I showed my view of Japanese politics in my journal "Is Japan Really a Democratic Country?". If you have enough time to read them, these journals will help you understanding today's journal.

As I wrote in the journal "Is Japan Really a Democratic Country?", Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) administration had continued for over fifty years since 1955. Japanese people actually didn't have any alternatives of LDP and we couldn't change policies of Japanese government through voting. The sub-governments (, which are groups, usually consisting of politicians, bureaucrats and special interests, controlling public policy in a particular area) were pursuing their own special interests under LDP administration.

Of course LDP and the sub-government had serious problems. I think that one of the main reasons why Japanese economy and society has been flagging for twenty years, which are called "lost twenty years (失われた20年間)". Junichiro Koizumi and Ichiro Ozawa are the most important politicians in the past twenty years, because they had been trying to break down LDP administration and ruling by the sub-governments.

Ichiro Ozawa used to be one of the most up-and-coming politicians belonging to LDP, and many people thought that he would be a leader of LDP, which meant he would became a Prime Minister. But in 1993 he and his fraction made a break from LDP and he established non-LDP administration, the Hosokawa cabinet, which had lasted for only a year. And then LDP got back to its power.

Junichiro Koizumi, belonging to LDP, had been a Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006. He tried to break down the ruling by the sub-governments from the inside of LDP. He always said, "I will destroy LDP" and made Japanese postal service, which was one of the strongest sub-government, private. He himself was getting more popular but at the same time LDP was losing Japanese people's support.

Ichiro Ozawa had been trying to build an opposition party, which could be an alternative of LDP. He joined DPJ, which was founded by Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan in 2003. Ozawa and Hatoyama used to belong to the same fraction of LDP, so they shared the same thought. But Ozawa and Kan conflicted each other at heart and just shook hands just in order to take over the administration.

In 2009 DPJ got the majority in the house and Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan became Prime Ministers in turns. Ichiro Ozawa himself hasn't been a Prime Minister, but his political goal, which is building an alternative party of LDP, had accomplished. But DPJ administration didn't work well because of conflicting between Ichiro Ozawa and Naoto Kan. I think that the Ozawa era and his historical mission has ended now.

After Yoshihiko Noda was elected the leader of DPJ, he said "No side." We, Japanese people really want politicians who actually will solve many problems that we are facing. I hope that the generation of Ozawa, Kan and Hatoyama should leave political arena now. It's time to end the destruction of the old regime and to build new Japanese democracy by new generations.

I'd like to quote a passage of Dwight D. Eisenhower Farewell Address delivered 17 January 1961.
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.


  1. Thanks for the mention in your post! I also read your post on democracy in Japan, and found it very insightful. I agree with what you say, and I too hope to see people in Japan become more involved in what is going on around them and demanding that the "sub-governments" be dismantled so real democracy can be achieved.

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I think that it's more difficult to build and keep a staple democracy than people think. I'm worried about the futures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya....