Monday, October 9, 2017

Tracking Koike's ambition, 7

Tracking Koike's ambition, day 7, 7 October 2017

Koike continues to be forced to deny her intention to step back to national politics but more questions continue to be asked about just who will lead the parliamentary party. Rumours today that she may have been in conversation with some former allies in the LDP about forming a coalition post-election, that would exclude Abe. Ishiba's name is being mentioned in dispatches. Ishiba, a former defence minister, is recognised as one of two frontrunners to take over from Abe (the other being former Foreign Minister Kishida). Both Ishiba and Kishida are frustrated by the frustrations cause by Abe seeking to extend his term beyond the standard two terms. The frustration is ripe for exploiting.

Koike and Abe on stage
And with policies and promises announced yesterday, Koike's Kibo no To was under fire for simply recycling her policies for this year's Tokyo Government election, under the 'Tomin First' banner ('tomin' (都民) meaning Tokyo residents). There is the problem that this makes it look like Koike might struggle to take the appeal that won Tokyo for her beyond the boundaries of the capital; on the other hand, Tomin First and Kibo no To are essentially the same thing so the criticism is a little harsh. An early iteration of the national party's name, Nippon First, was quickly hosed down given the pre-WW2 images it conjured; and Kibo no Juku was the name of the group she established to encourage people to support and engage in her politics.

Where critique is warranted is the lack of policy content and detail which, given the party has its origins in last year's gubernatorial race, is an oversight. 

And although the campaigning doesn't officially begin until Tuesday, with the formal call of candidates, all the party leaders were invited to participate in a leaders' debate with opportunity to present key points and explain their respective positions. As the only woman on stage, Koike is going to stand out. There is additional pressure and she will be juggling this round of campaigning in addition to meeting expectations (quite high) on running City Hall). 

Today was the day that the Nobel Peace Prize was announced as well. The winner was ICAN, a group which started in Melbourne and seeks the elimination of nuclear weapons. Interesting given the heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula via the tweets of the US President. PM Abe hasn't acknowledged the prize (nor Australian PM Turnbull for that matter, given its Australian origins). It made me wonder, what would Koike do as PM vis-a-vis the Korean Peninsula?