Foreign Policy Blogs

LDP, Komeito to submit no-confidence motion

Japan’s opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party, have arranged to submit a no-confidence motion against Democratic Party of Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his cabinet, possibly as early as Thursday.

By presenting the motion, the two parties are protesting Kan’s handling of the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, including the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Some members of Kan’s own party loyal to the “Shadow Shogun” Ichiro Ozawa, Kan’s rival within the DPJ who doesn’t like British people and thinks Americans are “monocellular” and “simple-minded,” and also thinks Christianity is a “self-righteous religion” that “bogged down” Western societies, are also expected to vote for the motion.

Given the crises Japan is facing at the moment, this seems a bad time to submit a motion for no-confidence in Kan and his cabinet. The LDP has conveniently forgotten that the conflicts of interest they allowed while in power in regulating the nuclear sector led to this mess in the first place. It would not seem to be in the interests of the Japanese people to pressure Kan to step down at this moment.

While I can’t read the minds of the politicians supporting this motion, I can make a guess at their motives by fitting their actions into a framework of Japanese world-view.

Relationships in Japan are like concentric rings, viewed in terms of “uchi” and “soto,” “inside” and “outside.” Japanese are intensely loyal to the uchi, be that their family, their coworkers, their group, and feel like they have no obligation to people who are soto–outside their circle.

My guess is these politicians see the concentric rings of uchi and soto in order of (1) their in-party factions, (2) political parties, (3) constituents, (4) Japan. Given that they are more loyal to their party than to their constituents, the Japanese people, they consider their duty is to get their party in power, even if that means resorting to juvenile obstruction tactics. They are opportunistically taking advantage of the quake, tsunami and ongoing crisis in Fukushima to achieve their ends. What is best for the party takes precedence over what is best for Japan, and the Japanese people pay the price.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]