Yomiuri Survey of DPJ: Mr. Maehara Top Choice for Next Prime Minister, Followed by Mr. Edano and Mr. Okada; Historically, Prime Ministers Lose Political Capital After Announcing Intent to Resign

Yomiuri Survey of DPJ: Mr. Maehara Top Choice for Next Prime Minister, Followed by Mr. Edano and Mr. Okada
Yomiuri Shimbun: ポスト菅は前原氏首位、追う枝野氏ら…読売調査
June 5, 2011

Since Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested he intends to resign, the Democratic Party of Japan has turned its attention to the “post-Kan” government, and there is already genuine competition for the role of next party leader.

According to a national survey of DPJ members conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun June 3-4, former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has the most support at 14%, followed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano and Chief Party Secretary Okada at 9% each, but each person has good points and bad ones.

Mr. Maehara has much experience as a representative and cabinet minister. He is well-versed in national security policy, and more than a few Liberal Democratic Party members would be willing to work with him. However, he resigned from office just this March after it was discovered that he received an illegal campaign donation from a Korean, so he is cautious about pursuing the Prime Minister’s office.

Mr. Edano’s name recognition has improved of his daily press conferences after the Great Tōhoku Earthquake, but it is said that “live or die, he and Prime Minister Kan share the same fate.” Mr. Okada has taken much of the blame for the DPJ’s nationwide defeats in local elections this April.

Historically, Prime Ministers Lose Political Capital After Announcing Intent to Resign
Yomiuri Shimbun: 歴代首相、退陣表明・辞意発言後の求心力低下
June 5, 2011

There are more than a few examples of Japanese Prime Ministers finding it more difficult to govern after they’ve announced they intend to resign in the near future.

In March 2001, Prime Minister Moriyama, beset by low approval ratings and a strengthening push for his resignation, announced to Liberal Democratic Party leaders that he would move up the date of the presidential election. Although he stayed in the position until April, the political world had already turned its attention to determining the “Post-Mori” government.

When the Recruit Scandal brought the 1989 budget deliberations to a standstill, Prime Minister Takeshita announced that because of low public confidence in government, he would resign after the budget passed. But with the House of Councillors [upper house] election coming up, the opposition parties didn’t step down from their oppositional stance, and no progress was made on the government’s most important priority, amending the Political Funds Control Law.

Governance has even been hindered when a Prime Minister’s intent to resign was leaked rather than announced.

Prime Minister Uno, who took over in June 1989 after Mr. Takeshita resign, was immediately damaged by defeats in the upper house by-elections and his own sexual scandals. Less than a month after taking office, party leadership leaked that he intended to resign. Though he was urged to reconsider, his party suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Councillors general election that July; he took responsibility for it and resigned, concluding a reign of only 69 days.

Prime Minister Hosokawa, the leader of the first non-LDP government of the modern era, was driven out of office in April 1994 because of his illicit loan from the delivery company Tokyo Sagawa Kyubin. Someone told the press that during a dinner meeting with members of the House of Councillors, he said, “I’m exhausted, and I want to resign.” He immediately denied that rumor but left office a little more than 20 days later.





(2011年6月5日06時39分 読売新聞)







(2011年6月5日09時25分 読売新聞)

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