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 Thursday 22 January - FCCJ Luncheon Meeting

Guest Speaker:
Mr. Dan Harada, President & Founder, Nagatacho Forum

Summary
Dan Harada focused his presentation on the rad map to the elections and scenarios for the outcome of the elections.

It is obvious that there would be no elections before the 2009 budget has passed the Diet, which would probably take place sometimes in April. Elections have never been held during budget deliberations. Another factor that might delay them is that Tokyo municipal elections will be held on 12 July, and LDP's governing partner, Komeito, for which the Tokyo elections are important, would not like to have the lower house elections too close to these.

The elections should be held in September. The 4 year term of lower house diet members expires on 10 September and the 4 year term of Prime Minister Aso on 19 September (technically is is the Abe term because if a prime minister resigns before his term is over, his successor(s) continue his term). However, by using all possible means allowed by the constitution, the election dead-line could be extended until 18 October.

The luncheon was ended with a very active Q&A session (read some of the questions and responses in the picture captions below).


Images from the event

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FCCJ President Mika Mäkinen starts the proceedings.
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Ambassador Jorma Julin exchange views with the speaker.
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Timo Varhama introduces the guest speaker.
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Mr. Varhama has attended Mr. Harada's breakfast meetings for 20 years.
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Varhama passes on the stage to Mr. Harada.
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Dan Harada starts his presentation.
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The event at Hotel Okura was attended by 22 members and guests.
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From left; Timo Varhama, Mika Mäkinen, Yasuji Ishigaki, Kimio Hashida and Ambassador Julin.
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Quentin O'Mahony , Kanji Ohashi, Juha Niemi, Hans Vinding and Mikako Kii.
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Jan Wahlberg, Hirokuni Yoshida, Seppo Kimanen, Hiroaki Sugawara, Mikko Koivistoinen, Pertti Mero and Antti Häkkilä.
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Mika Mäkinen starts the Q&A session.
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Quentin O'Mahony makes a question about the possibility of an 'Obama factor' in Japan.
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Rather unlikely was the reply from Mr. Harada.
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Juha Niemi ponders his question about 'deflectors' from LDP and DPJ forming a new party.
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'Very unlikely that they would succeed because the current election system would make it very difficult for a third party to gain ground. But after the elections, yes, possible.'
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Ambassador Ishigaki expressed his difference of opinion regarding Mr. Harada's scenarios for the election outcome.
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Mr. Harada admitted that he left out the third option, and a rather likely one, that the DPJ would gain majority.
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Timo Varhama asks a question about how the 'old guard' would fare in the elections.
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Mr. Harada predicted that several of the LDP faction leaders would face problems to be re-elected.
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Mika Mäkinen made the last question, about the likelyhood that former prime minister Koizumi would make a comback.
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"Never say never in politics, but the chance is this big..."
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Mika Mäkinen presents the speaker with some iittala glassware as a small token of gratitude.
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