Japanese political system and keeping it in the family
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Apathy in Japan towards the political system is ingrained because of rotating political chairs. Thus, the usual dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) continues, despite some minor breaks from power. Hence the hereditary political class just keeps on cherry-picking.
Therefore, the ministerial rise of Shinjiro Koizumi at such a tender age is extremely depressing. After all, he appears to be following in the footsteps of his father Junichiro Koizumi (a past prime minister of Japan). This also applies to petty nationalist tendencies that serve the Koizumi family well.
Some hereditary political names will come and go based on the fickle nature of politics. Yet one expects the elite club of children to persist to at least ministerial level. Others, of course, will reach the very top.
Thus, in the last few years, the names of Tatsuo Fukuda, Gaku Hashimoto, Yasutaka Nakasone, and Yuko Obuchi have popped up alongside Shinjiro Koizumi.
All the above have former prime ministers in their bloodline irrespective if directly through their fathers or grandfathers. Of course, the same applies to the current prime minister of Japan. This relates to his maternal grandfather who led the nation (Nobusuke Kishi). Likewise, his father (Shintaro Abe) reached an extremely high ministerial position.
Indeed, only a relatively small percentage of political leaders that have governed Japan come from non-political families since the ending of World War Two. In this sense, the Chinese Communist Party must be jealous of the LDP.
Ten years ago the New York Times reported, “Such family dynasties are common across Japan, the product of more than a half-century of Liberal Democratic Party control that allowed lawmakers to build powerful local political machines and then hand them down to children and grandchildren.”
Hence, the news that Shinjiro Koizumi became the third-youngest postwar minister in 2019 was extremely depressing. For another “political silver spoon” is emerging rapidly because of favorable press and being constantly in the public eye.
Thus the Japanese media should be condemning this non-democratic approach to politics instead of either welcoming – or being extremely placid. Sadly, the new Koizumi, like the old Koizumi, is also pandering to petty nationalism.
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