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    LDP at 50

    The Liberal Democratic Party celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its founding yesterday:

    The Liberal Democratic Party marked the 50th anniversary of its founding Tuesday and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told a celebratory convention the party’s mission now is to implement structural reforms on a par with the Meiji Restoration and the postwar economic miracle to cope with a changing world.

    “In Japan’s modern political history, two big reforms can be called ‘miracles.’ One was the Meiji Restoration of 1867-68, and the other is the reform that came 60 years ago after the defeat in World War II,” said Koizumi, who is also LDP president, at the convention in Tokyo.

    The Meiji Restoration marked the transfer of power from the feudalistic Tokugawa shogunate to a new central government, ushering in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and forcing the country out of three centuries of isolation.

    Koizumi noted that the two reforms were achieved after many people were killed.

    “How can we, in a peaceful way, implement reforms to deal with ongoing change around the globe?” he asked. “That is the duty of this governing party as it marks the 50th anniversary of its founding.”

    The party also publicized some of its new platform, including one that’s been both controversial and anticipated:

    Secretary General Takebe officially unveiled the new party platform, the goals of which are a new ideology that embraces “contributing to the realization of world peace,” “passage of constitutional revisions,” “revision of fundamental education law,” and “achieving small government.”

    Former Prime Minister Mori, chair of the party’s drafting committee for constitutional revisions, announced proposed revisions that stipulate that Japan maintains a “self-defense army” and add new rights related to privacy and the environment.

    I haven’t seen anything about phrasing that would give Japan the right to participate in “collective defense” missions, which was the other big military matter under discussion in the drafting committee.

    4 Responses to “LDP at 50”

    1. monocrat says:

      It’s positively amazing, but perhaps superficially so, that each of the four policy planks noted in the second quotation could easily have been adapted from Meiji or SCAP pronouncements. I suppose a cynic could write this off as plus ça change. Damn, I wish I could read these in the original Japanese. :)

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I don’t know that you’d have to be cynical. Koizumi did refer explicitly to the Meiji Restoration and to the end of WWII, so who knows? Perhaps the LDP actually echoed phrasing that was associated with those periods of change. Besides, world peace, for example, is a worthy goal, but it’s not exactly easy to attain; there’s no surprise in its continuing to crop up in campaign platforms.

    3. Zak says:

      Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about for years: What the heck is meant by “collective self defense”? I know the Japanese is 集団的自衛権, but what does this actually mean? The term is often bandied about, but it could mean pretty much anything.

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      The idea is that Japan would be able to come to the aid of an ally even if Japan itself weren’t threatened; it just would still not be able to up and declare war on someone.

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