This Week in Japan is your source for news and information about politics and other happenings in this East Asian island country. This episode covers the Top Five stories of the second week of October 2017.
House of Representatives debate on the Conspiracy Bill begins. The controversial legislation expected to become “the main event” of this Ordinary Diet Session as the government and the opposition parties draw battle lines.
Host Michael Penn interviews Rob Fahey about the prospects for and the challenges ahead of the Japanese opposition parties, led by the Democratic Party.
The ruling party makes belated and unconvincing efforts to legislate against the rise of hate speech.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto was still near the peak of his popularity when he announced in September 2012 that he would be moving into national politics. Simply by putting out the call, enough lawmakers gathered to his banner to establish a new political party meant to represent the Osaka Restoration Association’s interests at the national level. Today, in an echo from three years ago, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is once again signalling his intention to launch a new political party meant to represent the Osaka Restoration Association’s interests at the national level.
Lower House member Takaya Muto tweeted on July 30 that the arguments of students protesting against the security bills “are based on the selfish and extremely egoistic thought of not wanting to go to war.” Since then, his tweet has gone viral in Japan: It was retweeted more than 6500 times and has sparked outrage in the media.
With the passage into law on July 28 of the House of Councillors electoral district reform bill, there has been some amelioration of the wide disparity in the weight of individual votes. Nevertheless, many believe that the reforms of the new law as well are far too timid. It will still remain the case that one person’s vote in some prefectures will have the weight of almost three peoples’ votes in other prefectures.
Once again today Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared it. As the House of Councillors begins its deliberations on the Legislation for Peace and Security, the people are told that the passage of these bills is necessary and must be done now—in this Diet session. There is no alternative. Japan’s national security is now under threat like no other time in the postwar period.
Today Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will form his third cabinet since his December 2012 return to power. It will look an awful lot like the second cabinet, the only difference being that underperforming Defense Minister Akinori Eto will be dropped in favor of veteran hand Gen Nakatani.
The virtues of Shokichi Kina as an Okinawan folk musician are impossible to deny. Long after the man is dead and buried, his song “Hana” will be an immortal classic. As a politician, however, the sooner his career is forgotten the better.