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Discussion Paper 2 in 2009
First published in ejcjs on 15 October 2009
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Structural Ambiguity of the Liberal Democratic Party
The Dissolution of the Diet in 2005 and the Reinstatement Problem
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The purpose of this paper is to explain the ambiguous structure of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) even when under the leadership of Koizumi Jun-ichiro, who adopted the slogan, 'structural reform without sanctuary'. The paper discusses the dissolution of the Diet in 2005 and the problem of reinstating the former LDP members who had opposed the privatization of the postal system. It is noteworthy that the succeeding LDP president Abe Shinzo, who adopted the 'challenge again' (saicharenji) slogan, suddenly opted for their reinstatement. However, this paper argues that the reinstatement was not planned by Abe but Koizumi, who merely pretended to clarify the structure of the LDP by dissolving the Diet and fighting the rebels in the snap general election. This implies that his 'structural reform without sanctuary' slogan had a sanctuary葉he LDP itself as the governing party. This will be explained by describing the process through which the rebels were reinstated in the party.
This paper will examine the ambiguous structure of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). It is difficult to recognize who takes the initiative in creating policies葉he president or the Diet's backers (zokugiin). Rather than a power structure, the LDP has power relationships, because the party requires not structural reform but structural construction, i.e., clarification of leadership. For instance, if a government party with a clear power structure makes a serious policy mistake, responsibility for it should lie not only with the prime minister, i.e., the president of the party, but with the entire party because the party members chose and acknowledged the president. In other words, the responsibility takes the form of losing a general election and falling from power. On the contrary, a government party with an ambiguous power structure can continue to be in power by means of a 'ceremony'. This involves the nominal president resigning his office under the pretence of responsibility and another politician, often a rival of the former president, assuming the presidency. In other words, the entire party can avoid taking responsibility simply by sacrificing the nominal leader. The idea of such a ceremony is to give the Japanese people the same impression that would be achieved by a change of government. Kusano calls this 'pseudo change of government' (Kusano 2008). In short, even if the ruling party makes a serious political mistake, it can prevent a genuine change of government by performing such a 'pseudo change'. An ambiguous power structure can therefore result in serious political corruption. Although such ambiguity is not restricted to the LDP, this paper focuses on the LDP because their ambiguous power structure has enabled the party to retain substantial power over a period of 50 years, with the exception of a year, the Hosokawa cabinet and the next Hata cabinet.
Koizumi Jun-ichiro appeared to clarify the power structure of the LDP after becoming LDP president (and prime minister) in 2001. He awakened the expectations of the Japanese people with his extreme 'structural reform without sanctuary' slogan (Koizumi 7 May 2001). Some people felt that Koizumi's leadership clarified the power structure of the LDP. However, this paper considers that the LDP could not clarify its structure even after Koizumi became party president. A symbolic event that shows this is the problem of postal privatization, Koizumi's long-cherished political issue. He strongly wished to pass legislation on postal privatization during his tenure, despite the opposition of numerous LDP members. The rebels cast negative votes in the House of Representatives, but the bills were passed, albeit by a majority of just five votes. However, the bills were abandoned in the House of Councillors because the LDP rebels rejected them. The bills had been passed in the House of Representatives but Koizumi immediately decided to dissolve the House and hold a general election. He did this in order to discuss the rights and wrongs of postal privatization because the Japanese Constitution did not allow the prime minister to dissolve the House of Councillors. Koizumi called this dissolution 'yūsei kaisan' (dissolution for the achievement of postal privatization) (Koizumi 8 August 2005). Through the dissolution, Koizumi appeared to be changing the old LDP with its ambiguous power structure. However, this was merely his favourite political style, 'gekijō seiji' (theatrical politics). In the snap general election, the LDP did not recognize the LDP rebels who had opposed the bills on postal privatization as authorized candidates and the party even supported rival candidates against them. Thanks to its severe election campaign, the LDP won a working majority. After the election, the Koizumi cabinet again brought the privatization bills into the Diet and this time, succeeded in having them passed.
Koizumi later resigned his post as LDP president (and prime minister) when his term had expired, and Abe Shinzo became the next president. Abe's policy was to achieve a society that had a chance to challenge again (saicharenji) (Abe 29 September 2006). His first act was to reinstate the rebels in the LDP. However, the Japanese people did not accept their reinstatement after the great turmoil of the previous year's general election. The newly elected LDP members also opposed their reinstatement; nevertheless Abe allowed eleven independent Diet members to be reinstated in the LDP. The Japanese mass media reported the event as though Abe had modified Koizumi's extraordinary 'theatrical politics'. However, it is argued here that Koizumi had planned their reinstatement because he had already suggested this possibility before the general election. In order to explain this, the following sections describe the background of the dissolution of the House of Representatives in 2005, the LDP's election campaign and the process of reinstatement of the rebels in the LDP. The chronology clarifies that the power structure of the LDP was ambiguous even when Koizumi was LDP president.
The Dissolution of the Diet and the 2005 Snap General Election
The privatization of the postal system's three business services (postal service, postal savings and postal life insurance) was a long-term political issue for Koizumi. Before becoming prime minister, he had pledged himself to the privatization in books he had written (Koizumi 1996, Koizumi 1997, Koizumi and Kajiwara 1994, Koizumi and Matsuzawa 1999). He regarded postal privatization as the main issue of structural reform and believed that it would reduce the size of government. His political issue officially started in concrete form when he became prime minister. This section describes the sequence of events that led to the dissolution of the Diet and the 2005 snap general election after the public corporation of the postal services was established.
On 1 April 2003, the postal services agency was reorganized into a public corporation, Japan Post. However, Koizumi said that this was only the first step toward postal privatization (Yomiuri Shimbun 2 April 2003). A year later, on 26 April 2004, Koizumi established a preparation room in the cabinet secretariat for the privatization of the postal services. On 13 May, Koizumi held the first expert committee meeting regarding privatization (Yūsei min-eika Home page). On 3 June, the council on economy and fiscal policy determined the basic profiles for economic and fiscal management and structural reform (Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy 2004). The council decided to submit bills regarding postal privatization to the Diet. On the same day, the general council of the LDP accepted the basic profiles except for the privatization. The next day, the Koizumi cabinet decided on the basic profiles, including the postal privatization, without the permission of the LDP. On 10 September, the Koizumi cabinet settled on the basic policy and the establishment of the headquarters for the promotion of the privatization (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet 10 September 2004, Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Home Page). This was also not approved by the LDP. On the contrary, LDP politicians who opposed the privatization often held informal meetings of the postal services (yūsei jigyō konwakai) in order to insist on postal reform within the public corporation (Uchiyama 2007: 97-98). Koizumi could disregard the informal meetings of the LDP because he attached importance to his official authority as prime minister (Mikuriya 2006: 82, Uchiyama 2007: 96). In fact, on 27 September, he established the new position of the Minister of State for Privatization of the Postal Services, to be held by Takenaka Heizo, who was also the Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy.
In his New Year's Reflection on 1 January 2005, Koizumi noted his determination to submit bills on postal privatization to the regular session of the Diet during the year, and to privatize Japan Post from April 2007 (Koizumi 1 January 2005). He restated this plan in his general policy speech to the 162nd session of the Diet (Koizumi 21 January 2005). On 4 April, the Koizumi cabinet settled on the basic structure of the bills on the postal privatization. On 26 April, an LDP joint sectional meeting was held regarding the postal reform, and a summary along with the full texts were passed out. Takenaka Heizo, the Minister of State for Privatization of the Postal Services explained its content. Sonoda Hiroyuki, the chairperson of the meeting, approved the content pending its revision. On the following day, the general council of the LDP approved the submission of the bills on postal privatization to the Diet. However, it was unclear whether it determined compulsory adherence to a party decision regarding votes on the bills in the Diet. On the same day, the government settled on the bills at a cabinet meeting and brought them to the Diet. On 17 May, Koizumi replaced two bureaucrats from the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications who were involved with the postal services because of their lack of cooperation in the privatization of the postal services. It was unusual for the cabinet to intervene in personnel issues.
On 28 June, the government and the LDP approved the amendment of the bills on postal privatization. On the same day, the general council of the LDP held a meeting in which it approved the proposed amendment of the bills and confirmed compulsory adherence of a party decision regarding the bills, not by the usual method of a unanimous vote but by majority decision. However, as Okamoto indicated, this voting had a procedural problem (Okamoto 2008: 71-74). The general council consisted of 31 members, among whom 19 had abstained from voting. Seven votes were in favour of the bills and five were against them. In other words, the total number of votes cast (12 votes) did not reach a majority of the 31 members (16 votes). Nevertheless, the general council approved the bills because Article 4 of the LDP constitution stated that council decisions should be made by a simple majority of those present (seven votes out of the 12 votes cast) (The Liberal Democratic Party Home Page). Major newspapers such as Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei and Yomiuri, did not report the details of the voting (Asahi Shimbun 29 June 2005, Mainichi Shimbun 29 June 2005, Sankei Shimbun 29 June 2005, Yomiuri Shimbun 29 June 2005). Ironically, Wikipedia, which is not popular among academic scholars, does have details of the voting (Wikipedia Japanese edition).
On the next day, 29 June, the amended bills were proposed in the special committee of the House of Representatives. Before the vote, the LDP replaced members of the committee who opposed the postal privatization with supporters of it, who had not attended deliberation on the bills, in order to ensure the bills passed through the committee. On 4 July, the bills were passed in the special committee by approval of the LDP and the New Komeito under the condition of partial amendment. The bills were passed the following day by only five votes (a vote of 233 to 228) in the House of Representatives plenary session. Thirty-seven LDP members voted against the bills and fourteen abstained or were absent from voting. Before the vote, two senior vice ministers and two parliamentary secretaries tendered their resignation in order to vote against the bills in the Diet. Instead of accepting the resignations, the Koizumi cabinet dismissed them, which was strange because the Koizumi cabinet had been responsible for their appointment. When these officials attended a study meeting held by Watanuki Tamisuke, who was a LDP politician but a leader of the opposition campaign against postal privatization, Koizumi did not regard the attendance of these officials as problematic (Asahi Shimbun 8 April 2005). On 5 August, the bills were passed in the special committee of the House of Councillors and on 8 August, the bills were voted in the House of Councillors plenary session. The bills were eventually defeated by a vote of 125 to 108. Twenty-two LDP members voted against the bills and eight abstained or were absent from voting. On the same day, Koizumi held a special cabinet meeting. Shimamura Yoshinobu, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries opposed the dissolution of the Diet. Although he tendered his resignation, Koizumi did not accept it. Instead, he dared to dismiss Shimamura and took the post himself. He also dismissed Kashimura Takeaki, a parliamentary secretary of defence who had voted against the bills in the House of Councillors plenary session. Finally, Koizumi dissolved the House of Representatives because he considered rejection of the bills to be tantamount to a show of no confidence against his cabinet. In the press conference that evening, Koizumi indicated his determination by invoking Galileo's famous words, 'Yet the earth does move' (Koizumi 8 August 2005). He insisted that the LDP would nominate only candidates who approved postal privatization. He also stated clearly that the LDP would not recognize the 37 LDP members who had voted against the bills in the Diet as authorized candidates in the upcoming election. However, he said that it would be possible for the 14 LDP members who abstained or were absent from voting to receive the endorsement of the LDP if they approved the postal privatization (Koizumi 8 August 2005). After all, the LDP acknowledged all of them as authorized candidates, except for two who had retired from politics. Taking his politics into account, Koizumi did not have to authorize these LDP members (Oshita 2005: 226), because they had disobeyed a party decision (The Liberal Democratic Party 4 July 2005). Koizumi prepared for the worst-case scenario, in which the government would become a minority in the general election (Otake 2006: 144-145). This precautionary measure shows that he did not necessarily clarify the structure of the LDP by dissolving the Diet.
Koizumi's decision to dissolve the Diet seemed to cause a great turmoil, but the LDP's manifesto from the previous general election in 2003 had created the turmoil in the first place. That general election was held approximately two months after Koizumi was re-elected as LDP president. In the 2003 LDP presidential election, Koizumi himself had pledged to privatize the postal services. He had even announced a schedule for it, which included submitting the bills on the postal privatization to the Diet in 2005 and privatizing the postal services on April 2007. Since he was able to become LDP president again, he incorporated his public pledge in the LDP manifesto for the upcoming general election, clearly stating in bold text that the Koizumi LDP would achieve postal privatization on April 2007 (The Liberal Democratic Party 2003: 17). This sentence stated that all LDP members had to approve the postal privatization. This manifesto was an official document of the party that was produced by the LDP committee of manifesto planning, discussed in the policy deliberation commission of the LDP and approved by the general council of the party. Thus, all LDP members of the House of Representatives had to accept the privatization plan. If they did not wish to approve the manifesto, they did not have to become an authorized LDP candidates. Furthermore, the LDP executive did not have to nominate any candidate who intended to oppose the privatization. Nevertheless, approximately fifty LDP members of the House of Representatives did vote against the bills on postal privatization, abstained or were absent from voting. This fact shows that the LDP underrated the importance of its manifesto. LDP politicians in the House of Councillors also had to approve postal privatization, otherwise there was no reason to belong to the same party with LDP politicians in the House of Representatives who were supposed to have been elected by adopting the election manifesto that included privatization. The LDP politicians in the House of Councillors had to be aware that they had won the 2001 and 2004 elections when Koizumi was LDP president.
However, the LDP rebels in the House of Representatives also had grounds for their objection on the same manifesto because it also indicated that the LDP held nationwide discussions and concluded the issue of postal privatization around autumn of 2004 (The Liberal Democratic Party 2003: 17). According to the manifesto, the rebels could insist that it was possible for the LDP to conclude non-privatization of the postal services (Asahi Shimbun 10 October 2003a, 10 October 2003b). Koizumi approved this misleading sentence at the meeting with Nukaga Fukushiro, the chairperson of the policy research council of the LDP. This sentence implied a lack of leadership of Koizumi's part, yet Japanese voters were convinced that Koizumi had showed his strong leadership by dissolving the Diet. If he really had strong leadership, he would not have acknowledged the rebels as authorized candidates in the previous general election. He may have been expecting them to cooperate with the privatization, but his optimistic expectation caused confusion in the 2005 general election. Japanese voters were not aware of this and, they actually supported his superficial hard-line stance. According to the Asashi Shimbun public opinion poll conducted on the 8th and 9th of August, the percentage of those supporting the Koizumi cabinet rose from 41 to 46 percent (Asahi Shimbun 10 August 2005). The opinion poll disclosed that 48 percent of respondents who approved the dissolution of the House of Representatives exceeded the 34 percent who opposed it. Fifty-five percent of respondents recognized Koizumi's effort to privatize the postal services and fifty-three percent said that he should aim for privatization. Forty-seven percent did not sympathize with the LDP rebels who opposed the bills, compared to 34 percent who did. According to the survey conducted on 15 and 16 August, the approval rating for the Koizumi cabinet increased to 51 percent. As indicated earlier (Ito 2005), the LDP conducted the election campaign with the high approval rating of the cabinet. Mikuriya also mentions that Koizumi changed public opinion polls into popularity surveys or audience ratings (Mikuriya 2006: 39-41).
In the general election, the LDP supported rival candidates in the electoral districts of the rebels. They were called 'shikaku kōho' (assassin candidates) by the Japanese mass media, and the first was Koike Yuriko. The LDP made her change her electoral district from the 6th Constituency of Hyogo to the 10th Constituency of Tokyo, where Kobayashi Koki, one of the rebels, was standing. The LDP also supported Katayama Satsuki, a former bureaucrat in the Ministry of Finance, in the 7th Constituency of Shizuoka, where Kiuchi Minoru came forward as a candidate. In the 1st Constituency of Gifu, where Noda Seiko stood as an independent candidate, the LDP supported Sato Yukari, an economist. The LDP supported Horie Takafumi, the president of Livedoor, an IT company, in the 6th Constituency of Hiroshima, where Kamei Shizuka was standing. However, Horie stood for the election as an independent candidate since several LDP members opposed his official nomination. The LDP always attracted the Japanese mass media by making their announcements one after another rather than all at once. On 13 August, the LDP urgently advertised for candidates in order to fill vacancies. The party set a deadline three days later and required applicants to meet a deadline for submitting a report discussing the concept of postal privatization and structural reform. A total of 868 applicants applied. The LDP acknowledged 27 people out of 1,164, including the above applicants, as authorized candidates.
The LDP did not necessarily conduct a consistent election campaign because it attempted to support one of the rebels in this election. The rebel, Yashiro Eita, planned to stand in the election as an independent candidate in the 12th constituency of Tokyo. Ota Akihiro, a politician of the New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, planned to stand in the same constituency. However, Ota did not receive a lot of electoral cooperation from the LDP. The LDP proposed that Yashiro abandon his candidature in the constituency and support Ota. As a reward, the party promised to support Yashiro in the proportional representation constituency of Tokyo under the pretence of an expert on welfare because of his physical disability. However, the LDP was forced to abandon this plan because voters protested against it. After all, Yashiro had stood for the election as an independent candidate in the above mentioned constituency. This incident showed that Koizumi did not necessarily dissolve the Diet in order to clarify the structure of the LDP. Apart from Yashiro, several rebels, including Noda Seiko and Hiranuma Takeo, also stood for the election as independents with an eye toward to being reinstated in the LDP after the election. Other rebels established new parties. Watanuki Tamisuke and Kamei Shizuka organized the People's New Party, while Kobayashi Koki and Taki Makoto ran under the New Party Nippon that was established by Tanaka Yasuo, the Governor of Nagano.
In the general election, the LDP acquired a stable majority by winning 296 seats. Since the New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, won 31 seats, the two ruling coalition parties held 327 seats, which exceeded two-thirds of the fixed total. The Democratic party of Japan (DPJ), meanwhile, the largest opposition party, had its number of seats reduced from 177 to 113. In proportional representation constituencies, the DPJ fought well against the LDP (77 seats, percentage of votes: 38 percent) by winning 61 seats (31 percent). However, in the small electoral districts, the LDP won 219 seats (48 percent) compared to only 52 (36 percent) for the DPJ because of wasted votes. This was a victory for Koizumi's favourite election campaign, theatrical politics. In the proportional representation constituency of Tokyo, however, his theatrical politics had unexpected results. The LDP was supposed to be assigned the eighth successful candidate, but all listees of the LDP were elected. Fortunately, a candidate of the Social Democratic Party was elected instead. This shows that even Koizumi did not expect such an overwhelming victory for the LDP.
Koizumi's election tactics were to attract Japanese voters only to the LDP. He deliberately emphasized the matter of 'heroes against villains' in the LDP. The former category was made up of the reformers, the LDP members who promoted postal privatization, and the latter was the resisting force (teikō seiryoku), those LDP members who opposed privatization. This seemed to mark a return to the era of medium-sized constituency system, when a LDP candidate fought against another LDP candidate. Because of this conflict, Japanese voters paid attention only to the LDP and ignored the Opposition. In short, the conflict was a strong countermeasure against the Opposition, especially the largest opposition party, the DPJ. The LDP invariably drew the attention of the Japanese mass media by sending attractive 'assassin candidates' to electoral districts of the rebels who played the role of 'bad guys' in Koizumi's theatre. In a way, the rebels contributed the LDP's great victory by fighting against the LDP's authorized candidates. The LDP's showy election campaigns overshadowed the Opposition candidates. In the election campaign, the LDP emphasized postal privatization because they wanted to impress on Japanese voters that this was a symbol of Japanese reform. This was not a single issue election but a symbolic issue election (Oshita 2005: 334-335). The LDP conducted its election campaigns on the basis of this simple symbol, whereas the Opposition, including the DPJ, did not have one. Asakawa noted that there were three reasons for the LDP's victory: (1) Koizumi's press conference on 8 August 2005, (2) theatrical politics and (3) the simplification of policy to postal privatization (Asakawa 2006: 159). According to Abe Shinzo, the LDP achieved its great victory because it clarified the election issues by focusing only on postal privatization (Oshita 2005: 409). In addition, the LDP was able to take the initiative in setting the issue. In fact, the LDP had the initiative well before the election. Koizumi had always mentioned the possibility of dissolving the Diet before the vote on postal privatization. Japanese voters strongly reacted to the word, 'dissolution' (kaisan) when he actually dissolved the Diet. He often won elections by making surprising political determinations and raising his cabinet's approval rating. His decisions included not to appeal the Kumamoto District Court ruling for the plaintiffs in the Hansen's disease case, his two visits to North Korea and the appointment of Abe Shinzo as the secretary general of the LDP (Ito 2005). With regard to the dissolution of the Diet in 2005, his technique was the same. At first, he made a strong impact on voters by dissolving the Diet, then they were engulfed in excitement and voted for the LDP without making fully considered decisions.
Robert B. Cialdini's book contains detailed knowledge of such social psychology, which he expressed as click and whirr responses (Cialdini 2001: 4-10). According to ethology, a mother turkey spends much of her time mothering such as warming and cleaning her young chicks. Strangely, this mothering is triggered only by the 'cheep-cheep' sound of her chicks. The turkey mother does not pay attention to the other features of her chicks such as their smell or appearance. If the chicks make the cheep-cheep sound, their mother takes care of them; if not, the mother ignores them or sometimes kills them. It seems as if the patterns of her behaviour have been recorded on tapes within her. When the chicks chirp, the button of the tape recorder within their mother is clicked and the mothering tape is whirred (Cialdini 2001: 2-3). Human beings also sometimes have such automatic behaviour because in many cases it is efficient and even necessary (Cialdini 2001: 7). Human beings live in an extraordinarily complicated environment. It is impossible to analyse all the aspects of each person, event and situation we encounter every day. Instead, we need some short-cuts to deal with them. We have to use stereotypes or rules of thumb to classify things. If we identify a few key features, we can respond without thinking. In the case of the 2005 general election, Koizumi exploited the automatic behaviour of Japanese voters. When he decided to dissolve the House of Representatives, their voters' tape recorder buttons were clicked and the tape of voting was whirred.
Koizumi also exploited the contrast principle as well. According to Cialdini, if the second item is fairly different from the first, we tend to see it as more different than it actually is (Cialdini 2001: 12-16). For instance, if we lift a light object and then a heavy object, we will estimate the second object to be heavier than if we had lifted it without first lifting the light one. In the case of the 2005 general election, Koizumi deceived Japanese voters into comparing the LDP candidates who promoted privatization with the rebels who opposed it. He led Japanese voters to regard the former candidates as reformers and the latter as having vested interests. He succeeded in convincing Japanese voters that if they voted for the latter candidates, Japan's reform would regress.
The Problem of Reinstating the Rebels who opposed Postal Privatization
The previous section discussed the process of the dissolution of the House of Representatives in 2005 and the subsequent general election. This section covers how the LDP permitted the rebels to be reinstated in the party.
On 21 September 2005, the special Diet session was convened. In the election for prime minister, 12 rebels who had won election as independents voted for Koizumi because they still regarded themselves as LDP members. As a matter of course, Koizumi was re-elected as prime minister. The Koizumi cabinet again brought the bills on postal privatization in the Diet. On 11 October, in the House of Representatives plenary session, the bills were passed by 338 to 138. According to the Constitution of Japan, because of their approval of more than two-thirds of the fixed total (320), the bills were supposed to be approved by reconsideration in the House of Representatives even if they had been defeated in the House of Councillors. Eleven of the 12 rebels with the exception of Hiranuma Takeo, cast approving votes for the bills this time. On 14 October, in the House of Councillors plenary session, the bills were passed with a majority of 34. In the previous ordinary session of the Diet, 30 LDP members of the House of Councillors voted against the bills, abstained or were absent from voting, but all of them except Kamei Ikuo and two politicians who left the LDP and joined new parties, approved the bills this time. At last, Koizumi succeeded in passing the postal privatization bills through the Diet.
Koizumi appeared to promote the privatization with his strong leadership, but this paper argues that this was not the case. He merely hastened the privatization of the postal services. At first, he had to change the postal services agency into a public corporation, Japan Post, in 2003 before he aimed to privatize the postal services. This issue was determined during the Hashimoto administration. Koizumi signed the cabinet decision as a member of the Hashimoto Cabinet. However, he did not regard the public corporation as an obstacle to postal privatization. On the contrary, he regarded it as a 'milestone' in the transition (The House of Representatives 21 May 2002). Accordingly, he decided to adopt a roundabout approach by establishing the public postal corporation and subsequently privatizing it (Shiota 2005: 119-162). However, he did not have much time because, according to the LDP's constitutional provision, it was impossible for him to serve as the LDP president past October 2006 even if he was re-elected in 2003. He also had to resign as prime minister. In short, he had only approximately three and half years after the public corporation was established on April 2003. As noted in the previous section, Koizumi wished to have the bills passed during the ordinary session of the Diet in 2005. He did not want to carry the deliberation on the bills over to the next extraordinary session of the Diet (Oshita 2005: 189-193, 210). When he recklessly challenged the voting on the bills in the plenary session of the House of Councillors and the bills were rejected, there was still over a year until the expiration of his term as LDP president (and prime minister). This implied that he still had the initiative as prime minister. If Koizumi dissolved the Diet while he had the initiative, he calculated that he could pass the bills though the Diet next time by winning the general election. He must have been confident about the success of this plan after winning two by-elections of the House of Representatives held immediately before the dissolution of the Diet, on 24 April 2005. On the other hand, if the deliberation of the bills had been prolonged to the extraordinary session of the Diet, he would have gradually lost the initiative and the rebels would have made frantic efforts to prevent not only the postal privatization but also his right to dissolve the Diet as the expiration of his term approached.
He was forced to purge the rebels in the general election. However, it is contended here that he did not truly wish for such aggressive means since he conducted an inconsistent election campaign. As mentioned in the previous section, he acknowledged LDP members who had abstained or were absent from voting of the bills in the Diet as authorized candidates. He also attempted to support Yashiro Eita, one of the rebels in the proportional representation constituency of Tokyo as an exceptional case. As for other rebels of the two new parties (the People's New Party and the New Party Nippon), their immediate return to the LDP was difficult because of the establishment of their parties. However, Koizumi would have thought that it was not necessarily impossible after the LDP president changed due to the expiration of his term. In comparison, Koizumi would have not expected any great difficulty reconciling with rebels who stood for the election as independent candidates because they did not participate in the new parties, which showed that they were still attached to the LDP. Koizumi would have expected those rebels to forgive him because he had contributed to the great victory of the LDP through his theatrical politics. If they still regarded themselves as LDP members, it was natural for them to attach more importance to the LDP victory than to anything else. The problem was how to permit them to return to the party. At first, Koizumi sounded public opinion by sending up a trial balloon. His 'reverse course' had already begun before the general election held on 11 September 2005. On 1 September, in his interviews with the Yomiuri Shimbun and others, he mentioned that it was not impossible for the rebels to be reinstated in the LDP after the bills had passed through the Diet. According to him, it depended on their judgement regarding their reinstatement (Yomiuri Shimbun 2 September 2005). Okada Katsuya, the DPJ president, criticized his comments (JanJan 2 September 2005, Yomiuri Shimbun 3 September 2005).
After the general election, on 21 October, the LDP's party ethics committee decided to punish the nine LDP members who had opposed the bills and organized the People's New Party and the New Party Nippon with expulsion. On 28 October, the committee unanimously chose to expel Norota Hosei, because he did not vote for Koizumi in the Diet nomination of the prime minister in the special Diet session and was absent from voting on the postal privatization bills. Twenty-six other rebels who stood for the general election without the LDP's official authorization were merely advised to leave the party. It was possible for them to return to the party because they had avoided expulsion, the most severe punishment.
At the beginning of 2006, there was a small but not insignificant incident related to the reinstatement issue. On 16 January, the LDP asked that Hori Kosuke, one of the rebels who had won election as an independent candidate, to assume the role of adviser of the investigative commission of the government parties regarding amendment to the fundamental law of education. Koizumi welcomed Hori's participation to the commission (Yomiuri Shimbun 17 January 2006). On 25 January, this issue was determined officially. Although this incident was a milestone for the reinstatement of Hori in the LDP, Koizumi took a superficially prudent attitude toward the reinstatement problem. On 27 February, he met with Takebe Tsutomu, the secretary general of the LDP at party headquarters. In a press conference after the meeting, Koizumi mentioned that it was impossible to take relief measures for the rebels for the time being (Yomiuri Shimbun 28 February 2006). However, as the expiration of his term as LDP president approached, he mentioned the approval of their reinstatement. On 14 July, when he visited Jordan, he hinted that it was possible to approve the reinstatement before the election of the House of Councillors held in 2007 (Yomiuri Shimbun 15 July 2006). On 8 August, he mentioned that it was better for the incoming LDP president to decide on the reinstatement (Yomiuri Shimbun 9 August 2006). On 5 September, within a month of the expiration of his term as president, he said that to meet and part was the way of the world (Yomiuri Shimbun 6 September 2006). He mentioned that it was the custom of the world that people who had left the LDP came back to the party, opposition members joined the ruling parties, and members of the ruling parties became opposition members.
The brief summary of his remarks regarding reinstatement of the rebels is as follows. At first, before the general election, Koizumi made a remark regarding their reinstatement in order to determine whether public opinion opposed it. If public opinion had been strongly opposed, he would abandon the reinstatement for a while. As the expiration day of his term as the LDP president approached, he came to feel that it was better to leave the matter to the next LDP president. Koizumi laid the groundwork for the project in order to make it easier for the next president to tackle. He felt that it would be easier for the LDP to permit their reinstatement if the LDP president changed.
Their reinstatement was advantageous for both the rebels and the LDP. On one hand, their political activity was limited; even though they were elected as independent candidates, it was virtually impossible for them to assume a ministerial or other influential post. They strongly wished to belong to a political party in order to assume such a post. Among the parties, their old home, i.e., the LDP, was the best and only alternative for them since it was more attractive in terms of posts and fund-raising than other parties. On the other hand, the reinstatement could benefit the LDP because it would strengthen their chances in elections. The rebels proved their political strength in the general election by winning as independent candidates. The party wanted such strong politicians in order to retain power. The party also wanted them to support other LDP members of the House of the Councillors who were supposed to stand for the 2007 election. Besides, if they returned to the LDP, government subsidies to the LDP would increase. These factors meant that, the LDP had to complete their reinstatement.
In September 2006, Koizumi resigned as LDP president when his term was complete. As a matter of course, the Koizumi cabinet resigned en masse. The next president of the LDP (and prime minister) was Abe Shinzo, who advocated a policy of 'challenge again'. In the election for prime minister, held in the Diet, the 12 former LDP members who won the general election as independents voted for Abe. This became one of the reasons why Abe permitted them to return to the LDP. The Abe cabinet started with a high approval rating. According to the Asahi Shimbun public opinion poll, the approval rating for the Abe cabinet was 63 percent which was the third highest rating since World War II. Due to this high level of public opinion, Abe was able to begin the project of their reinstatement. On 3 October, in the House of Councillors plenary session, Katayama Toranosuke, an LDP member, asked Abe whether it was necessary for him to call not only former LDP members who sympathized with his philosophies and policies but also members of other parties in order to assemble conservative forces (The House of Councillors 3 October 2006). This suggested the reinstatement of the rebels, not only independents but also members of the new parties. Abe answered that he expected to discuss this with the politicians who shared his philosophies and vision and work with them in order to achieve his policies.
For the time being, Abe aimed to reinstate former LDP members who had stood as independent candidates for the general election, in particular, the 12 former members who had been elected. They had a good reason to return to the LDP, since they had received a popular mandate by winning the general election. In addition, they had voted for him in the Diet nomination for prime minister. On 22 October, by-elections for the House of Representatives were held in two constituencies, the first major election after the inauguration of the Abe cabinet. The LDP won the election in both constituencies. Abe was confident of achieving the reinstatement by virtue of the victories. On the following day, Abe mentioned that the headquarters of the LDP intended to think about how to treat the people who had voted for him in the Diet nomination for prime minister and had the same policies in accordance with his general-policy speech in the Diet (Yomiuri Shimbun 24 October 2006). With this remark, he basically suggested that he had approved the reinstatement of the 12 independent Diet members. In addition, on 24 October, he mentioned that he wished to entrust the LDP with the reinstatement problem of former LDP members who were defeated in the general election, including a decision whether the party examined their reinstatement (Yomiuri Shimbun 24 October 2006 (Evening Edition)).
However, Abe miscalculated the backlash of public opinion, since the Japanese people still remembered the great turmoil of the previous general election. New LDP members, who were elected for the first time in the general election (Koizumi chirudoren), also opposed the reinstatement. On 26 October, an organisation named '83 kai', which was organized by the newly elected LDP members of the Diet, discussed the reinstatement. Fifty-seven members attended this meeting and put forward their opinions. However, the organisation abandoned the compilation of their opinions since they feared conflict with LDP executives. After the meeting, approximately 20 volunteers conducted a campaign against their reinstatement and collected signatures regarding the problem. On 9 November, Ono Jiro and Sato Yukari, who were newly elected LDP members of the Diet, handed 43 signatures of LDP legislators to Nakagawa Hidenao, the secretary general of the LDP. On 28 November, 17 newly elected LDP members, including Sato Yukari, who opposed reinstatement of the rebels, opened an inaugural meeting, 'fukutō mondai wo kangaeru kai' (meeting on the reinstatement problem). However, this meeting was dissolved only two days later since LDP executives had settled on a reinstatement plan. However, Sato did not give up; on 29 November, she submitted to Nakagawa approximately 1,500 signatures opposing reinstatement.
In comparison to the opposition of the newly elected LDP members, Koizumi aggressively insisted on their reinstatement. On 7 November, at a meeting named 'Nihon yumedukuri dōjō', he advised the newly elected LDP members to prepare to be treated them as just another commodity to be used up and tossed aside (tsukaisute) (Yomiuri Shimbun 8 November 2006). On 29 November, Koizumi and Abe met the newly elected LDP members who belonged to the '83 kai' organisation (Yomiuri Shimbun 30 November 2006). At the meeting, Koizumi insisted that a struggle for power was a matter of course in the political world and he said that it was important to think about how to change enemies into allies. He persuaded the newly elected LDP members to accept reinstatement of the rebels since they had bent their political belief and apologized to the party. He even mentioned that the newly elected LDP members did not have to discuss this matter since Abe was prepared for a drop in his cabinet's approval rating.
As mentioned above, although the LDP executives approved reinstatement of the rebels, the newly elected LDP members (Koizumi chirudoren) opposed it. This time, the latter seemed to become the resistance force (teikō seiryoku). A critical event on this problem was a meeting held on 22 November between Nakagawa Hidenao and Hiranuma Takeo, a representative of the rebels who had won the general election as independents. At the meeting, Nakagawa presented three conditions for reinstatement; (1) observance of the LDP's manifesto including postal privatization, (2) support for Abe's general-policy speech and (3) observance of the party regulations and rules and expression of reflection on anti-party activities in the general election (Yomiuri Shimbun 23 November 2006). Nakagawa told Hiranuma that the rebels who wished to rejoin the LDP had to submit a written oath that promised these conditions. On the morning of 27 November, the deadline of the written oath, Moriyama Hiroshi met Ishihara Nobuteru, the acting secretary general of the LDP, and handed over the 12 rebels' petitions for reinstatement and their written oaths. Among them, Hiranuma submitted only the written petition for reinstatement but not his written oath. On the evening of the same day, the board of the LDP unofficially decided to approve the reinstatement of all of the rebels except Hiranuma. On 4 December, the party ethics committee of the LDP officially unanimously approved the reinstatement of all rebels except Hiranuma. By virtue of their reinstatement, the number of LDP members in the Diet became 305. The political party subsidy of the LDP increased by 265 million yen over the previous year to 17.1 billion yen (Sankei Shimbun 3 April 2007). However, the Abe cabinet's approval rating dropped as a result of the reinstatement. According to the Asahi Shimbun public opinion poll held on 9 and 10 December, the cabinet's approval decreased by six percent from the previous poll, held in November, to 47 percent. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents did not approve of the rebels' reinstatement. Although this problem was not related to the Abe cabinet, since it was an LDP problem, respondents may have had some doubts regarding Abe's leadership as prime minister.
After that, the LDP planned the reinstatement of former members who had been defeated in the general election since the LDP judged that the decline in the Abe cabinet's approval rating was only small. On 9 March 2007, the party decided to reinstate Eto Seiichi, who had been an unsuccessful candidate in the general election. In the 2007 election of the House of Councillors, he was elected from the proportional representation constituency under the LDP banner. Apart from Eto, Fujii Takao, one of the rebels who was defeated in the 2005 general election, was also victorious in the 2007 election. Although he was an independent candidate in the 2007 election of the House of Councillors, he was recommended by the LDP. After the election, on 1 August, the LDP decided to reinstate him.
Approximately two months later, the Abe cabinet resigned en masse due to lack of public support. In the last days of the Abe cabinet, its approval rating was very low. According to the Asahi Shimbun poll taken on 27 and 28 August 2007, it was 33 percent even with Abe's much publicized cabinet reshuffle. The reinstatement problem triggered a series of falls in the Abe cabinet's approval rating. However, as mentioned above, the plot of their reinstatement was already planned by Koizumi. In a way, Koizumi and Abe showed great leadership regarding the reinstatement because they pushed ahead with it despite opposition from the newly elected LDP members (Koizumi chirudoren). However, their reinstatement created a serious ethical problem in that the LDP was a party that indulged itself. During the 2005 general election, Hosoda Hiroyuki, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, claimed that the rebels opposed not only the postal reform but any kind of reform (Yomiuri Shimbun 7 September 2005). Takebe Tsutomu, the secretary general of the LDP, also said that the LDP was definitely separated from them in the special Diet session after the general election (The House of Councillors 28 September 2005). Therefore, the LDP did not have to reinstate the rebels in the party. After all, Koizumi's favourite slogan, 'structural reform without sanctuary' had a sanctuary葉he LDP as the government party.
This paper has discussed the dissolution of the Diet and the snap general election in 2005. It has also discussed the problem of reinstating the former LDP members who opposed the bills on privatization of the postal system. In the general election, the LDP did not endorse these members as authorized candidates; on the contrary, the party supported their rival candidates. By virtue of this strong election campaign, the LDP provided the mass media with subjects for news reports. This political style was called 'theatrical politics', with the LDP members who promoted the privatization playing leading roles and the rebels playing the part of the villain's. Opposition members played only minor roles, if anything. In any theatrical performance, however, actors and actresses are not enough葉here should also be an audience. In this case, the audience was the Japanese voters who were excited by Koizumi's performance. The Japanese mass media criticized Koizumi through the term 'theatrical politics'. However, they did not realize that the term also criticized them because they were enthusiastically reporting the election campaign of Koizumi's LDP every day. Thus, they played a role in setting the stage for Koizumi's theatrical politics.
Support from the Japanese mass media helped the LDP win the general election. Japanese voters who read the papers or watched the TV news provided by Japanese mass media were convinced that Koizumi had broken up the old LDP and constructed a new version whose structure was clear. However, they may have supposed that the structure of the LDP was again ambiguous since Abe, the next LDP president, reinstated the rebels in the party. In reality, Koizumi had already tried to find a way to reinstate them when he was LDP president. In brief, he dissolved the Diet with a mind to their reinstatement. He succeeded in increasing the LDP's number of seats in the Diet by means of the great victory in the general election and the reinstatement of the rebels. The Japanese mass media often mentioned that Koizumi was an 'eccentric' (henjin), but he was also an organization man in terms of clinging to the LDP as the government party. In fact, when he announced his retirement from politics in 2008, he nominated his second son, Koizumi Shinjiro as his successor. Koizumi's example shows that a popular LDP politician cannot change Japanese politics because the politician thinks of ways to retain power.
The LDP has failed in several areas of policy for a long time. A typical example is the abduction problem of North Korea (Ito 2007). As a government party, the LDP had a responsibility to protect Japanese abductees from North Korea. The LDP also had responsibility for numerous other problems such as pensions, employment, and so on; nevertheless the LDP continued to be in power for over 50 years, with the exception of a year, the Hosokawa cabinet and the next Hata cabinet. Taking account of the political problems, it is quite natural for the LDP to lose power, but this is not sufficient for the indulged political party because the party is sure to take all conceivable measures to return to power as soon as possible. In fact, when the LDP was driven into opposition in 1993, it came to power once again within a year by forming a coalition government with the Japan Socialist Party (JSP), which had the exact opposite policies of the LDP and the New Party Sakigake. In addition, the LDP chose Murayama Tomiichi, the leader of the JSP as prime minister. Therefore, it is not sufficient for the LDP to go into opposition. Dissolution of the LDP is required. This is an idea of Koizumi. He always mentioned, 'if the LDP should not change, I would destroy the LDP'. In fact, the LDP did not change even after the dissolution of the Diet in 2005 (yūsei kaisan). Thus, the LDP has to be destroyed by Japanese voters. Figuratively speaking, it implies bankruptcy. In the case of business, it is natural for a company which causes a serious problem to be driven into bankruptcy. As mentioned above, the LDP also caused numerous serious problems; nevertheless the party clung to political power for a long time. Therefore, the LDP cannot avoid 'bankruptcy'. This bankruptcy would establish Japanese ethical norm of politics.
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1 Inoguchi and Iwai (1987) gives the details of diet backers (zoku giin).
2 Mikuriya mentions that the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), also has an ambiguous structure because it contains both former Socialists, who have rich experience in opposing all of the LDP's policies, and young inexperienced politicians who struggle to make policies (Mikuriya 2006: 167-168). Kusano describes the details of groups in the DPJ (Kusano 2008: 162-172).
3 For instance, Shimizu (2005), Takenaka (2006) and Uchiyama (2007).
4 With regard to theatrical politics, see Wada and Ariga (2002), Otake (2003, 2006) and Uesugi (2006). By virtue of his political style, Koizumi was able to serve as prime minister for approximately five and half years, an extremely long period in the context of Japanese political history.
5 Shiota criticizes Koizumi's purpose and future vision of postal privatization for being unclear (Shiota 2005: 12-17). Machida describes that the reason why Koizumi maintained his stance of postal privatization was based on two personal grudges. The first was his first election (Machida 2005: 76-87). In 1969, Koizumi ran for a general election for the first time but was defeated because several postmasters of special post offices (tokutei yūbinkyoku) in his electoral district supported his rival. Koizumi Matajiro, his grand father, was a politician who had created the network of special post offices in his own locality. Although Koizumi Jun-ichiro expected the support of this group in his first election, he felt they betrayed him. The second grudge was his conflict with postal bureaucrats when he was the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (Machida 2005: 90-104). At the press conference of his inaugural speech, he opposed raising the limited amount in the tax-free small-sum savings system (maruyū), which was the priority issue of postal bureaucrats. In addition, Koizumi mentioned postal privatization at another press conference. Postal bureaucrats reacted against his announcements and went on a 'go slow' protest. Koizumi was often in a difficult situation when he replied to questions in the Diet because he could not obtain support of the postal bureaucrats. Shiokawa Masajuro, who was the Minister of Finance in the Koizumi cabinet had another opinion. According to him, kakufuku sensō (the battle between Tanaka Kakuei and Fukuda Takeo) motivated Koizumi to privatize the postal services (Yamawaki 2005: 59-62). They fought furiously about the post of LDP president and Fukuda was eventually defeated. Koizumi was frustrated because he belonged to the Fukuda faction. The Tanaka faction was supported by the organisation of postmasters of special post offices. Thus, Koizumi came to support privatization of the postal services in order to beat the Tanaka faction. Otake also mentions that his target was its succeeding faction, the Hashimoto faction (Otake 2006: 83-86).
6 See Oshita (2005: 11-16). According to this book, Takebe Tsutomu, who was in charge of planning the manifesto, submitted a draft to the general council of the LDP on the day of the dissolution of the Diet. He calculated that LDP members would not judge its contents well because they would become restless about their election (Oshita 2005: 14).
7 See Asahi Shimbun (17 August 2005). The results of other national newspapers' public opinion polls (Mainichi, Sankei and Yomiuri) are introduced in the interests of impartiality. Firstly, the Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll held on 8 and 9 August reports that the approval rating for the Koizumi cabinet was 46 percent, an increase of 9 percent from the previous month's polls (Mainichi Shimbun 10 August 2005). Fifty-four percent of respondents approved the dissolution of the Diet. The approval rating later increased to 51 percent in a poll held from 13 to 14 August (Mainichi Shimbun 15 August 2005). According to the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network joint public opinion poll held on 16 and 17 August, the approval rating was 49.9 percent (Sankei Shimbun 19 August 2005). Fifty-two and a half percent of respondents approved the decision to dissolve the Diet. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion poll held on 8 and 9 August, i.e., immediately after the dissolution of the Diet, approval was 47.7 percent (Yomiuri Shimbun 11 August 2005). This was the same rate as the previous survey conducted on 6 and 7 August, immediately before the dissolution of the Diet. However, this increased to 53.2 percent in its public opinion poll held from 17 to 19 August (Yomiuri Shimbun 20 August 2005).
8 For instance, Yomiuri Shimbun (30 August 2005 (Evening Edition)).
9 As a result of the general election, 22 candidates were elected.
10 Koizumi mentions that the medium-sized electoral districts are suitable for Japanese voters (Koizumi 1996: 50-53).
11 In order to ensure his re-election to LDP president, Koizumi would have compromised other reforms, e.g., the privatization of the Japan Highway Public Corporation (Yayama 2004: 165-166).
12 Apart from these people, Kamei Ikuo, who was a member of the House of Councillors, was also advised to leave the party because he had supported the election campaign of his brother, Kamei Shizuka, who established the People's New Party.
13 See Asahi Shimbun (28 September 2006). Other newspapers also reported a high approval rating for the Abe Cabinet. According to the Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll held on 26 and 27 September 2006, the approval rating was 67 percent, which was the third-highest ranking since the Mainichi Shimbun began similar public opinion polls in 1949 (Mainichi Shimbun 28 September 2006). According to the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network joint public opinion poll held on 27 and 28 September, the approval rating was 63.9 percent, the third-highest ranking since the Hosokawa cabinet (Sankei Shimbun 30 September 2006). According to the Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion poll held on 26 and 27 September 2006, the approval rating was 70.3 percent, the third-highest ranking after the Ohira cabinet (Yomiuri Shimbun 28 September 2006).
14 Four people who were applied for reinstatement changed a phrase in their written oaths. With regard to a case in which they violated their written oaths, they wrote 'I will bear myself', which is not as specific as the original phrase, 'I will resign from the Diet'. In the interview with the applicants held on 4 December, Nakagawa confirmed that the revised phrase implied the same meaning as the original phrase.
15 See Asahi Shimbun (12 December 2006). The results of other public opinion polls are as follows. According to the Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll held on 9 and 10 December 2006, the approval rating for the Abe cabinet was 46 percent (Mainichi Shimbun 12 December 2006). According to the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network joint public opinion poll held on 30 November and 1 December, the approval rating was 47 percent, with 67.2 percent of respondents opposing reinstatement (Sankei Shimbun 2 December 2006). According to the Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion poll held on 9 and 10 December, the approval rating was 55.9 percent, with 43.6 percent of respondents opposing reinstatement. Twenty-three point two percent of respondents somewhat disagreed (Yomiuri Shimbun 12 December 2006).
16 See Asahi Shimbun (29 August 2007). The other public opinion polls reported the same result. According to the Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll held on 27 and 28 August 2007, the approval rating for the Abe cabinet was 33 percent (Mainichi Shimbun 29 August 2007). According to the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network joint public opinion poll held on 27 and 28 August, it was 38 percent (Sankei Shimbun 30 August 2007). According to the Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion poll held on 30 and 31 July, the corresponding number was 44 percent (Yomiuri Shimbun 29 August 2007). However, the approval rating decreased to 29 percent in its public opinion poll held on 8 and 9 September (Yomiuri Shimbun 11 September 2007).
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Yamawaki, Takeshi 2005, Yūsei kōbō, Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha.
Yayama Taro 2004, Dōrokōdan min-eika no uchimaku, Tokyo: PHP kenkyujo.
Yomiuri Shimbun 2 April 2003, 'Nihon yūsei kōsha hossoku Koizumi shushō 'keiei yokushite sumūzu ni min-eika shite'': 9.
Yomiuri Shimbun 29 June 2005, 'Seifuｷjimin, yūsei hōan shūsei de gōi Koizumi shushō ga ukeire kōbō ha shūin saiketsu ni': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 11 August 2005, 'Koizumi naikaku no shijiritsu 47.7%/Yomiuri Shimbunsha kinkyū yoronchōsa': 2.
Yomiuri Shimbun 20 August 2005, 'Koizumi naikaku, shijiritsu jōshō 53.2%, kaisan chokugo yori fueru/Yomiuri Shimbunsha zenkoku yoronchōsa': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 30 August 2005 (Evening Edition), 'Shūinsen kōji hoshu bunretsuku ha sessen hisshi jimin, tekoire zenryoku minshu 'gyofu no ri' nerau': 2.
Yomiuri Shimbun 2 September 2005, ''Kahansū' tsuika kōnin fukumezu Koizumi shūshō, shūinsen shōhai rain de': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 3 September 2005, 'Minshu･Okada-shi, Koizumi shūshō no hantaiha fukutō shisa wo hihan': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 7 September 2005, 'Shūinsen Hosoda kanbōchōkan 'teikō seiryoku shirizoite itadakanaito'': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 17 January 2006, 'Jimin, Hori-shi wo kyōiku kihonhō kaisei kentōkai 'komon' ni': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 28 February 2006, 'San-insen zōhangumi kōnin de ondosa Aoki-shi ha sekkyoku, Takebe-shi ha keikai': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 15 July 2006, 'Yūsei ritōgumi no fukutō yōnin ichibu ha san-insen maeni/Koizumi shushō': 2.
Yomiuri Shimbun 9 August 2006, 'Yūsei zōhangumi fukutō ha 'shinsōsai no handan'/Koizumi shushō': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 6 September 2006, 'Yūsei 'zōhangumi' no fukutō Koizumi shushō, jūnan na shisei': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 28 September 2006, 'Abe naikaku shijiritsu 70.3% hossoku chokugo rekidai3i/Yomiuri shimbunsha yoronchōsa': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 24 October 2006, 'Zōhangumi fukutō, honkaku chōsei he Abe shushō hyōmei Hiramuma-shi ra 12nin yūsen kentō': 2.
Yomiuri Shimbun 24 October 2006 (Evening Edition), 'Yūsei 'zōhangumi' no fukutō ha genshoku yūsen/Abe shushō': 2.
Yomiuri Shimbun 8 November 2006, 'Chirudoren ni 'tsukaisute kakugo seyo' Koizumi zenshushō 'yūsei zōhangumi' fukutō yōnin?': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 23 November 2006, 'Hiranuma-shi, nennai fukutō miokuri Nakagawaｷjimin kanjichō ga seiyakusho teishutsu yōkyū zōhangumi asu saikyōgi': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 30 November 2006, 'Koizumi-shi, zōhangumi fukutō wo shiji chirudoren to kondan 'kimitachi ga toyakaku iukotonai'': 4.
Yomiuri Shimbun 12 December 2006, 'Naikakushiji kyūraku 55.9% 'fukutō ni hantai' 67%/Yomiuri Shimbunsha yoronchōsa': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 29 August 2007, 'Abe kaizōnaikaku shiji 44% san-insengo kara 12pointo jōshō/Yomiuri Shimbun yoronchōsa': 1.
Yomiuri Shimbun 11 September 2007, 'Abe naikaku shijiritsu 29% kaiji haken enchō 'sansei' 29%/Yomiuri Shimbunsha yoronchōsa': 1.
Yūsei min-eika Home page, 'Yūsei min-eika', Accessed 24 September 2009.
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