By Mike in Tokyo Rogers
Today Japan will choose a new Prime Minister. Will it be Naoto Kan or Ichiro Ozawa? How is it possible that, after being so disgraced just a year ago, that Ozawa has a chance of becoming Prime Minister?
It's because Naoto Kan is so incredibly incompetent and inexperienced.
Well, I'm am not inside of these talks but I think I can tell you that Ozawa will be the next Prime Minister of Japan. Why? I gather this because of what I perceive the mood of the mass media and the public at large. Recently, I have been getting a definite negative vibe concerning Kan.
Probably the worst thing for Kan is the poor performance of the Japanese Stock Market recently coupled with the rise of the yen. Throw on top of that Kan's insistence on raising taxes and you have the formula for someone getting booted out really quick.
As the Financial Times reported:
The DPJ shift to policies that boosted consumption was the right move, and an electoral asset. Strange, then, that Mr Kan turned back, fighting this summer’s upper house election on an austerity platform. Child allowances were to be capped, consumption taxes doubled and corporate taxes cut instead. Unsurprisingly, Mr Kan’s proposal went down like a cup of cold rice gruel. Mr Ozawa was vocal in his disapproval. But why did Mr Kan reverse? The kindest explanation is naivety: he fell for the “Japan is the next Greece” story. By contrast, Mr Ozawa’s idea of securitising loans and other assets on the government’s bloated balance sheet sent shivers down the spines of bureaucrats, not to mention the bond market.
I doubt seriously that adding to Japan's balance sheet frightens Japanese politicians. If that were true, then they should have been very afraid when the red ink hit 100% of GDP way back when. Now that it's at 190%, what's the difference in a few extra trillion yen here or there?
The Japanese government's purpose, like the purpose of all government's around the world, is to kick the can down the road and to allow someone else to have to worry about paying the piper....
Thus, as both Kan and Ozawa have Keynesian ideas for fixing the economy, I say that Ozawa's time has come. Kan foolishly says in public that he will raise taxes. Ozawa is against that.
This means that other members of the DPJ worry about their seats in the next election. This will result in Ichiro Ozawa as the next Prime Minister of Japan....
After that, soon Ozawa will fail miserably too, and then, once and for all, the DPJ and Japan will finally be rid of him...
Too bad we can't get rid of the rest of them at the same time.
Keywords: Ichiro Ozawa, Naoto Kan, election, DPJ