The populist prime minister got rid of the officials who stood up against economic reforms and those who compromised the government
Today’s resignation of the government made Koizumi’s position even stronger. Observers say that the very fact that the new government was formed so quickly testifies that the reshuffling of the government had been planned long ago.
The Japanese Cabinet, headed by Junichiro Koizumi, resigned early today. At that, Japan remained without a government for a very short period, as the government was announced at 2:00 p.m. Tokyo time.
It is rather conventional to call this government a new one, as Koizumi replaced six ministers only. Japan Defense Chief General Nakatani and Minister for Financial Services Hakuo Yanagisawa are no longer members of the cabinet.
Today’s resignation of the cabinet isn’t unusual for Japanese politics at all, as governments change frequently in Japan. It is astonishing that Koizumi didn’t dismiss the government earlier. Since April 2001, when the incumbent prime minister came to power, the government has remained unchanged. This is not mentioning the scandal in the Japanese Foreign Ministry last winter, when Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka had to resign, and her opponent, an influential politician Muneo Suzuki (who was called a secret master of the Foreign Ministry and who initiated Tanaka’s resignation) found himself on trail for humanitarian aid abuse in Russia’s Southern Kurile Islands. By the way, Japan’s incumbent Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, who had taken over after Tanaka, managed to retain the position.
Today’s resignation of the government made Koizumi’s position as prime minister even stronger. Observers say that the very fact that the new government was formed so quickly testifies that the reforming of the government had been planned long ago. The prime minister, who is considered a populist in Japan, got rid of those officials who stood up against his financial and economic reforms (Hakuo Yanagisawa) and those who compromised the government (Gen Nakatani who was involved in a great number of scandals last summer). It is strange that Koizumi held practically no consultations concerning the appointments of new ministers with representatives of the ruling Liberal Democratic party, which is not typical in Japanese political life. However, the prime minister still enjoys rather great popularity among the population; recent opinion polls held in the country reveal that 67% of the population support him. This is a really considerable figure taking into consideration the fact that Japan still fails to cope with its protracted economic stagnation.
Will the newly appointed government be effective enough? It seems that nobody, including Koizumi himself, can answer the question yet. The prime minister has achieved a tactical objective and strengthened his position. However, if the economic reforms he has declared prove ineffective within the nearest months, the political fate of the Japanese prime minister will be undecided.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/09/30/47750.html