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Another Scandal Rocks the Prime Minister

June 15, 2009

Background: Prime Minister Aso’s approval ratings have been quite low on average this year. From the slow moving stimulus package to many scandals within his own cabinet, the Prime Minister has had a tough year. In fact one of the only political honeymoon’s he’s had is the fact that the opposition party had a scandal, therefore making him look a little better, and more in control.

The honeymoon is over with the latest scandal to face the prime minister: the reappointment of Nishikawa. The former Japan Post president’s reappointment is causing controversy and in some ways is showing Aso’s inability for leadership. On the one hand, Aso wants Nishikawa to be reappointed, he’s a strong ally and is favored by the still popular former Prime Minister, Koizumi. However his own government, namely Hatoyama (head of internal affairs) says he needs to step down. The gridlock and confusion each day makes Prime Minister Aso look worse in the public’s eye.

NikkeiRecent Approval Ratings Drop to 25%, the Dismissal of Hatoyama is Inappropriate” The Nikkei combined with Tokyo Television conducted a survey to check the public’s reaction to the Nishikawa Reappointment scandal. Aso’s overall approval ratings dropped to 25%, and the public disapproved of his work by 65%. Which work are they referring to? The recent sacking of his internal affairs minister, Hatoyama. 56% of those surveyed deemed the move “inappropriate”, while only 24% of those surveyed stated his move was “appropriate.”

Asahi “He Had a List, but I Was a Fool to Feel Safe” These words from the retired Hatoyama say it all. The former internal affairs minister, who pushed for Nishikawa not to be reappointed, said he felt safe because he saw that the Prime Minister was preparing a list of possible candidates for the Japan Post position. He goes further than that, by saying “In fact, there was no mistake that the Prime Minister had in his mind that he was going to change the Japan Post position.”  

The Asahi closes their article with these comments from Hatoyama: “I of course am not thinking about creating a new party or succession from my own party. The thing is, our party cannot do this for eternity. We have very little time left.”

YomiuriCurrently I don’t Remember the Names on the List…” According to the Yomiuri, Hatoyama currently does not remember the names of the candidates he saw for the Japan Post position, but he’s indicated that in the future he might publically release some of them.

In terms of the claim that the Prime Minister had a list of people he was thinking to change the Japan Post to, the Yomiuri claimed the Prime Minister had “No Comment.” They said this indicates that he acknowledges that he did have such a list.

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