FTの2007年参院選総括

 今日はFTの2007年参院選総括です。

Winning by default
Published: July 31 2007 03:00 | Last updated: July 31 2007 03:00

A crushing defeat for Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic party in the upper house election on Sunday has revived hopes that the country is poised to become a "normal" democracy - a democracy, that is, in which rival political parties of similar strength but different ideas and policies compete for power and have the chance to govern.

With the exception of a single nine-month period, the LDP has run Japan since the party was founded 52 years ago. At the weekend, however, the LDP suffered its first defeat at the hands of a single opposition party: the Democratic Party of Japan won 60 of the 121 contested upper house seats, with the LDP winning just 37 and its Komeito ally eight. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister and LDP leader, may yet be forced to resign even though his party controls the more powerful lower house of parliament.

Unfortunately, the DPJ does not look like the right party to usher in a period of genuine multi-party democracy for Japan. Formed only in 1998 out of a merger of four political groups, it lacks consistent policies, let alone an ideology. The party members include nationalists not unlike Mr Abe, economic liberals, leftists and various cast-offs from the LDP. Since it was founded, it has had six leaders,

The DPJ, furthermore, did nottriumph at the polls by proclaiming a distinctive political and economic vision. It did well because Ichiro Ozawa, its current leader, is a politically savvy opportunist (and former LDP cabinet minister) who adopted the kind of pork-barrel tactics used by the LDP before it began to champion economic reform under Junichiro Koizumi, Mr Abe's predecessor. Mr Ozawa successfully courted rural voters by promising financial support for farmers and increased spending in rural areas.

As if to underline what a curious party the DPJ is, Mr Ozawa did not even appear in public on Sunday to comment on his party's overwhelming victory. He is in poor health, unpopular within his own party and is unenthusiastic about becoming prime minister if the DPJ wins control of the lower house.

Mr Ozawa was the shrewd politician behind the coalition of parties that deprived the LDP of power for the first time in 1993-94. Perhaps he could play the same trick again in the years ahead, but unless the DPJ can adopt a clear idea of how it would do things differently from the LDP, the process could be just as futile and short-lived as it was then.

Mr Abe and the LDP deserved to lose this weekend's upper house election. The problem for Japan is that Mr Ozawa and the DPJ did not deserve to win.

 2007年参院選は自民党が敗北したのであって、民主党が勝利したわけではない、という総括です。非常に的確だと思います。

 今回の選挙で民主党は政策を何も明示していません。少なくとも、民主党が打ち出した政策が支持を集めたことによって民主党の議席が増えたわけではありません。政権交代を目指した政策論争に勝利したのではなく、機に乗じただけです。自民党はそれに対抗できませんでした。ですから、自民党の敗北でしかないのです。FTは参院選の実情を見抜いています。

 それにしても、記事の3段落目にある民主党評価が秀逸です。民主党は1998年に4つの政治勢力(注:旧民主党・民政党・新党友愛・民主改革連合、なお2003年に自由党が合流)から結成された政党であるため、一貫した立場や政策がない、と断じています。このような政党が民主主義の一翼を担うことはできないでしょう。

 最高に面白いのは、それに続く4つの政治勢力の分類です。民主党は民族主義者、経済自由主義者、左翼主義者、といった主義主張がバラバラの集団から構成されているとした上で、ここに自民党からの脱落者(cast-offs)が加わっていると評しています。脱落者とは言い得て妙です。というか、言い過ぎです。

 この3段落目だけでも十分に酷いのですが、後半の6段落目では、民主党が政権をとっても、自民党との違いを明確化しない限り、無意味(futile)だと言い放っています。海外の新聞にここまで否定される民主党が哀れです。が、正当な指摘ですから、真摯に受け止めるしかないでしょう。

 日本の新聞よりもFTのほうが民主党をよく理解しているのではないでしょうか。その理解の上で参院選の総括が行なわれるので、非常に優れた社説になっています。日本の新聞の社説よりも今回の選挙を把握しています。海外の新聞を読んだほうが日本のことがよくわかるなんて皮肉ですが。

自己紹介

benyamin ♂

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