With the government losing public support as it struggles to get a handle on the resurgent pandemic, some recent reads on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, goings-on in his ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Diet:
- Suga’s deference toward LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai is believed to be behind the delayed suspension of the Go To Travel tourism campaign and played a key role in the move toward a declaration of emergency, Jiji reports. It may also have led to Suga attending the notorious steak dinner that landed him in trouble for flouting coronavirus guidelines.
- Speaking of which, ruling and opposition parties have given up on making rules to cover group dining by lawmakers, an effort triggered by the recent behavior of a handful of LDP politicians. The momentum for action fizzled out after they encountered a barrage of online criticism, with many asking why politicians couldn’t just follow the same rules as normal humans.
- Can Suga lead his party and Japan beyond September —when another LDP leadership election is due — or is he destined to be a stopgap PM? In this election year, Suga will face a series of uphill battles over the global health crisis, his policies — and his own political fate, writes Satoshi Sugiyama.
- It was a given that Suga would be elected PM in the Diet in September, so how come a 45-year-old female opposition lawmaker won a single vote? The lone vote for Takae Ito came from Shizuka Terata, an independent. “I want Ms. Ito to drastically change Japan,” Terata explains, which is moving far too slow on gender equality under the old geezers of the LDP.
- Under tightened party rules, LDP members will be basically banned from running for both a constituency and a proportional representation seat if they lose constituency battles but secure PR seats in two or more Lower House elections in a row. Got that? Loopholes that allowed some serial election-losers to bag PR seats are being closed, and some in the party are not happy about it.