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 Monday 20 October - FCCJ Luncheon Meeting

Guest Speaker:
Mr. Marutei Tsurunen, Member of the House of Counsillors

Summary
According to Mr. Tsurunen, the elections should come as soon as possible because his party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), sees that it has a good chance to gain power now. Prime Minister Aso though want to postpone as long as possible, but Mr. Tsurunen's prediction was that the elections will be held on 30 November.

A change of government is needed, because the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been in power for too long, almost uninterrupted (except for a short period in 1993) for almost 50 years. A change would stop, or at least decrease substantially the corruption and it would free the national politics from the strong grip the bureaucrats has on it. The DPJ's election manifesto promises to send 5 politicians to each ministry to achieve this.

Mr. Tsurunen sees three different scenarios of the political landscape after the elections.
  1. DPJ wins but not enough to govern alone, which gives them four options:
    1. make a coalition with Social Democratic Party (SDP) and a couple of other small parties
    2. make a coalition with Komeito (unlikely according to Tsurunen because of its strong ties to Soka Gakkai)
    3. the DPJ would get members from other parties after the election
    4. a complete re-alignment of the political parties
  2. LDP (and it's coalition party Komeito) takes majority but not the 2/3's they have now which would prevent them from passing legislation which has been once rejected by the Upper House.
  3. A grand coalition between LDP, DPJ and Komeito (what Mr. Osawa once tried - unlikely now according to Tsurunen)
The DPJ's election manifesto contains:
  • a child allowance system, 26,000 yen/month/child
  • abolish toll fees on highways in rural areas
  • abolish the tax surcharge on gasoline
  • all farmers (not only big ones as now) would receive a compensation allowance
  • the pension system would be financed through tax

    Mr. Tsurunen noted, that despite many differences DPJ policies are not that far away from those of the LDP. In foreign policy though there are major differences, the DPJ would like to lessen the influence the USA has on Japan, they should be equal partners. The DPJ also opposes the SDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. The DPJ would like to see requests for Japanese support coming from the United Nations, not the USA. This applies also to Afghanistan.

    The luncheon was ended with an active Q&A session.


    Images from the event

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    FCCJ President Mika Mäkinen starts the proceedings.
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    Marutei Tsurunen starts his presentation.
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    At the top table; Mika Makinen, Isao Nishmura, Seppo Kimanen, Ambassador Jorma Julin, Yukio Sakurai, Yasushi Ozu and Kimio Hashida.
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    Mitsuo Okabe, Takaaki Satake, Maarit Vuorio, Hirokuni Yoshida. Masaoki Fujita. Heikki Mäkipää and Kinji Yasu.
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    Mitsutaka Shoji, Takeshi Yokoyama, Mika Kouhia, Hachiro Kawai (SCCJ Member) and Ayako Yamamoto (Tsurunen's Office)
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    Pertti Mero, Esa Setälä, Quentin O'Mahony, Tuomo Kuuppo, Vesa-Pekka Aaltonen, Juha Niemi and Pekka Laitinen.
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    The luncheon was attended by 32 members and guests.
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    Many faces of the guest speaker.
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    Start of the Q&A session.
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    Seppo Kimanen asks.
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    Quentin O'Mahony asks.
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    Kinji Yasu asks.
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    Juha Niemi asks.
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    Who is more Japanese...? FCCJ President Mika Mäkinen offers a small present of appreciation to Marutei Tsurunen.
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