Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Japan’s far north, once home to pet projects of scions of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, looks set to become an even hotter bed of opposition Democratic Party success in this weekend’s Japanese election capped, if polls and analysts are correct, by a local son becoming the nation’s next prime minister.
But while the country decides whether opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama will become premier, voters in Hokkaido will also decide the fate of a certain disgraced former finance, trade and farms minister who is battling for his political life.
Shoichi Nakagawa, who last graced this blog when his antics at February’s G8 finance ministers’ summit in Rome prompted his resignation from the cabinet, is trailing his 36-year-old DPJ rival, Tomohiro Ishikawa, for a seat his family has held for nearly half a century, according to the local Tokachi Mainichi newspaper on Wednesday.
Nakagawa, once a rising star in the LDP — and still a relatively young hand in the party at 56 — quit the cabinet after having to deny he was was drunk at the summit, which an often replayed video of his departing news conference did little to support, undermining his already weak ally, Prime Minister Taro Aso.
When a prime minister is in trouble, especially before an important general election, it is never wise to upset reporters.
But that seems to be exactly what unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso did when he departed for a G8 summit in the central Italian city of L’Aquila this week.
As his first stop during a trip to attend July 8-10 summit of G8 leaders in Italy, Aso went to the Vatican, gave the pope a Sony digital video camera and discussed the global economic crisis with him.