Fukuda's Resignation: Where Does Japan Go From Here?
Recorded on September 10, 2008
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's abrupt resignation has again thrown
Japan's political landscape into turmoil. Fukuda's departure less
than a year after assuming office - as was the case with his
predecessor - raises concern that Japan will return to the
revolving door pattern of ineffectual prime ministers serving brief
terms that prevailed through much of the 1990s. The next prime
minister will also be hampered in implementing foreign and domestic
policies by a legislature split between competing parties and the
obstructionist tactics of the opposition party.
Japan is at a strategic crossroads. Bold leadership is needed but
unlikely in Japan's consensus-driven political system. There are
serious consequences to Japanese inaction. Tokyo's unwillingness or
inability to make tough decisions risks Japan losing influence and
even relevance in a region increasingly dominated by an ascendant
China. As a Chinese proverb cautions -- "Two tigers cannot share
the same mountain."
The panelists will discuss the impact of Prime Minister Fukuda's
resignation on Japanese domestic and foreign policies. The panel
will also assess Japan's political future, the potential for
stronger leadership, and what the next 6-12 months holds for Japan
- continuing government gridlock or surprising progress?