Monday, November 25, 2013, 12:30 - 14:00
Yoshimi Watanabe, Your Party Leader
In the First Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from 2006 to 2007, Yoshimi Watanabe served as Abe's Minister of State for Regulatory Reform of Japan. Today, he is the leader of one of the major opposition parties confronting the Second Abe Cabinet. But one thing which has never changed is Watanabe's eagerness to enact administrative reform and to reduce the power of the central government bureaucracy in Kasumigaseki.
The Tochigi-born Yoshimi Watanabe is the son of former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Michio Watanabe, and thus he grew up within a political family. Beginning his career, like his father, within the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, the younger Watanabe's passion for reform eventually led him to defect from the LDP and to establish his own outfit called Your Party shortly before the August 2009 elections.
While many other small political parties that have been created by LDP defectors, Your Party has distinguished itself as one of the most successful at the polls and by a clear policy identity in favor of deregulation and administrative decentralization. Surviving their first general election with the minimum required 5 lawmakers, Watanabe has skillfully guided the party to its current strength of 35 lawmakers.
The FCCJ is proud to host Mr. Watanabe at a very crucial juncture, not only to hear about his evaluation of his former boss, Shinzo Abe, but also about the future of Your Party, which has recently been beset by a bitter internal dispute about the best opposition strategy going forward.