"Can Japan's opposition unite against Shinzo Abe's LDP?"
Secretary General, the Democratic Party of Japan
Monday, November 16, 2015, 14:30 - 15:30
Despite taking a hit in the polls over controversial legislation expanding Japan's military role, the country's political behemoth, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) rolls on. Party leader and Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has his eyes fixed on national elections next year. Can Japan’s emasculated opposition do anything to stop him?
Japan's largest opposition party, the Democratic Party (DPJ), hoped that Abe had miscalculated by calling a snap election last year. Instead, the LDP was strongly returned to power. The power brokers who led the DPJ to electoral victory in 2009 have fallen out. There are even rumors that the party could break up.
Some members of the party, led by Katsuya Okada, have proposed cooperating with the Japanese Communists (JCP). In September, JCP Chair Kazuo Shii proposed fighting the government's security legislation under a coalition arrangement. That would call for both parties to field joint candidates in the House of Councilors election next summer.
Yukio Edano, the party's secretary general, will come to the FCCJ to discuss the prospects for this and a revised opposition, He will also give his prognosis on the health of Abenomics, the economic policy that has achieved mixed results. Edano's party says the government's policies have benefitted Japan's giant exporters but left many ordinary people feeling poorer.
Edano is a well-known political personality, thanks to his time as chief cabinet secretary during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He was later appointed head of the ministry of economy, trade and industry. A lawyer by profession, he is known as one of the sharpest communicators and political minds in the DPJ.