The end of Koizumi's era
Liberal Democratic Party, led by Koizumi, lost the election in Chiba prefecture April 23rd, 2006. It should be just a by-election for a seat out of 512 seats, but it seemed enough to predict the near future, the end of Koizumi's power.
Not having big news these days, the small election attracted the press and politicians to make a decision on what voters now think about Liberal Democratic Party and its biggest opponent, Democratic Party.
Democratic Party has replaced the leader, followed by an accused scandal occured to the former leader. And the replacement at least appealed to the voters their desperate attitude toward their new regime. I have to say something about the new leader Ozawa since I posted his pic below in this article, but let me skip him this time and I'll write about Koizumi's party.
Liberal Democratic Party, on the contrary, must have lost their sharpness; they won in the last big election in August 2005, focusing on the reformation of Japan's postal service. People knew what Koizumi wanted to proceed at that time. However, his vision became an old fashon since the bills were passed this month. The people's interest is not about reformation any more, but something new to make them refreshed such as the shock they felt when Koizumi proposed his grand-scale reformation last year.
In addition, I must make a comment on his lack of accountability for his results and plans. For example, abduction brought about by North Korea was one of the biggest issues, and voters know that Japanese and American government work together to tie up North Korea's assets earned from counterfeiting foreign currency. What the voters really want from Koizumi is his report about those issues, but he seems not interested in it in spite of his accomplishment on the abduction. One of his unique pledges is to start discussion on introduction of the system of prime ministerial election to Japan. Even though he has a good view as a reformer, the lack of accountability gradually makes the voters bored. For god's sake let us see his strong speech again.
Almost all of his important members entered Chiba prefecture to support the election, making many speeches, but they ended up making the voters bored furthermore. I think it's just a matter of the lack of topics. LDP's secretary-general even came up with a rhymed phrase and shouted many times to let voters remember the name of the candidate. Getting rather carried away, Koizumi doesn't seem to notice the meaningless performance only lead to make voters disappointed.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, made rather better impression than LDP by campaigning on bicycles although their vision is not clear either. It's very sad that the politics in Japan is still not mature looking at those scenes. Japanese politicians should appeal what they can do, not what voters perceive.