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38 – Japanese Political Upheaval and Public Protest (3 July 2012)

On the surface the story is simple enough. Japan’s most important/powerful/controversial politician has done it again: shaking up the party political world by leaving, and perhaps breaking up, the DPJ, Japan’s ruling party. And that because things did not go his way. The Japanese media were, predictably, ready with their favorite epithet, ‘the destroyer’, and with quotes from political commentators that this time his star may be truly fading because the perennial polls show that the people have had it with him. Almost all foreign reporting trying to make sense of his latest turbulence in Japanese politics meekly follows the lead of the big national newspapers, as it has done for the last couple of decades (note that the number of regular full-time correspondents in Tokyo has dwindled to a small fraction of what it used to be). The financially oriented foreign reporting quotes resident analysts praising the leadership qualities of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, whose insistence that a law aimed at doubling the consumption tax must be pushed through Parliament triggered Ozawa’s move. Added comment holds that the Prime Minister is better off without the recalcitrant Ozawa in his party since this makes it easier to...

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