Fukuda in a corner
Friday, November 30, 2007 Posted: 10:13 AM JST
Prime Minister Fukuda was pushed deeper into his corner this week by four events. Combined, and followed by others, they may eventually bring his government down.
On Wednesday the opposition-controlled Japanese Upper House approved a bill to cancel the Air Self-Defense Force's airlift support for the reconstruction of Iraq. The bill is mainly symbolic as the Lower House is unlikely to approve it, but the symbolism is strong and important.
Also on Wednesday, deliberations began on a bill that would allow the Maritime Self-Defense Force to resume the supply of fuel and water to US naval ships in the Indian Ocean.
The Upper House is not expected to pass the bill. It can let it die or reject it. If rejected, the Lower House can deliberate on it and pass it again. But if it does so, there is a big chance that the Upper House will pass a Motion of Censure which may put pressure on Prime Minister Fukuda to dissolve his government. Something he will put off as long as possible as he is sure that the LDP will loose more seats in a general election.
To make things worse for Fukuda, former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya and his wife were arrested the same day on suspicion of taking bribes from defense equipment trader Motonobu Miyazaki. Miyazaki was recently arrested as well.
Yesterday, the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tokyo were raided by no less than 100 officers and employees of the Prosecutor's Office. The Defense Scandal is quickly starting to resemble the Lockheed bribery scandals of the 70's.
Merry Christmas, Mister Fukuda...
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