November 7, 2008; Volume 04, Number 30

of the

Japan Considered Podcast

[Listen to the audio file by clicking here]

Clink Links Below for Today's Topics

Introduction
Air Force Chief of Staff's Prize-Winning Essay Creates a Stir
Tamogami's Thesis
Significance of General Tamogami's Essay
Government Reaction to General Tamogami’s Essay
Why in the World Did Tamogami Submit Such an Essay?
Timing of Japan's Next General Election
The Importance of Public Financing of Election Campaigns
The Effect of the Next Election
Concluding Comments

Good Morning. From Lake Wateree, in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. Today is Friday, November 7th, 2008. and you are listening to Volume 04, Number 30, of the Japan Considered Podcast. 

Introduction

Yup. The Mobile Studio's been parked for the past few days right on the shore of this beautiful lake. On site number twenty-five, to be exact. Maintained by this remarkable state park. Cool days now. And even cooler nights. Bordering on downright chilly! Perfect camping weather. I took quite a few photos the last time I was here. And hope to find time soon to post them on the Japan Considered Project website. Under Mobile Studio Travels. The photos don't do the park or the lake  justice. But hopefully, they'll give you some idea of its beauty and charm. I enjoy every minute I'm able to spend here. I’ll try to post a couple of those photos in the transcript. Have a look!

Thanks for dropping by again. We've got a lot to cover today. Including the conclusion of our discussion last week of political reform. First, though, we have to consider the domestic and international significance of yet another incident in Japan's Ministry of Defense. Discovery, this time, of an essay written by Air Force Chief of Staff, General Toshio Tamogami. Then we'll take a look at the latest developments in scheduling of Japan's next general election. Both of these issues provide us with plenty to think about. So let's get right to it.

Air Force Chief of Staff's Prize-Winning Essay Creates a Stir

Last Friday, October 31st, Japan's political press blazed with news that Air Force Chief of Staff, General Toshio Tamogami, had written a controversial essay. An essay subsequently published under his own name on an obscure Japanese website. I'd seen mention of the essay in the Japanese press earlier in the week. Even had a call about it Thursday morning from an outraged long-time listener in Washington D.C.

Inspired by that call, I made a few of my own to friends in Tokyo. And finally located the text on the website of a Tokyo real estate developer, the APA Group. Headed by Toshio Motoya. Both the original Japanese and an English language translation are now available there. I'll try to remember to put a link to the website in the program transcript, for those of you interested in reading the original document.

Obscure the website may be. But like the Japan Considered Project's web presence, it's freely available to anyone who learns of its existence. Accessible instantly from anywhere in the world. A mixed blessing for those in government and the private sector with responsibility for managing the news! And Tamogami's essay was being accessed! Judging from subsequent news reports. First those from Japan. Then in response to the Japanese accounts, more from the United States, Europe, China, Taiwan , and the Koreas. All of them I've read have expressed surprise and disappointment over the essay. More on that in a moment.

The APA Group of real estate developers, it turns out, had sponsored an essay contest. And solicited manuscripts from anyone interested in competing. Offering a three million yen prize for the best submission. With submissions to be judged by a panel of experts. Quite an elaborate and expensive operation, overall, it seems. The essays were to address “true” ['shin'] interpretations of modern history. Suggesting to any aspiring essayist, of course, that currently accepted interpretations are not true. Or are, at least, inaccurate. Hmmm. The panel, Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier this week, received well over 200 contributions.

Well, General Toshio Tamogami took the bait, and submitted an essay. Under his own name and military rank. Air Self Defense Chief of Staff. One of the most senior uniformed positions within Japan's Ministry of Defense. According to reports in Japan's political press earlier this week, Tamogami's essay was selected as the best. But when the evaluating panel learned Tamogami was the author, they confirmed he would be willing to accept the prize before making their announcement. Concerned, of course, that publication of an essay expressing such opinions would end his career. Once assured he would accept if he won, the panel made their announcement. And soon thereafter released the text of Tamogami's essay on the APA Group website. With, it's interesting to note, an English language translation!

Tamogami's Thesis

Tamogami's essay runs about 3,500 words in English translation. A manuscript long enough to thoroughly develop a complex theme. That is, it's considerably more elaborate than the typical newspaper Op Ed piece we read. Which often are whittled down to a few hundred words that suit the convenience of the publishing paper's editors. His title? From the English translation: “Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?” Or, in Japanese, “Nihon wa Shinryaku Kokka deatta no ka.” Which to me actually suggests “Was Japan Really an Aggressor Nation?” A bit more contentious, in other words.

I've read Tamogami's essay carefully a few times from beginning to end. And conclude that it's the original work of a thoughtful individual who's used to writing short memoranda. Memoranda that never face the merciless discipline of a red-pencil-wielding professional editor. It reminds me of some of the graduate course papers I've received over the years. Papers written by graduate students who've spent their formative years working in a government bureaucracy. Or in the military.

This paper reads as if the writer had begun by jotting down points he'd like to make on note cards. Cards he then arranged in some loose order, and referenced while writing the final draft. Including every last card in the stack! The result is a somewhat jumbled argument. Too detailed where unnecessary, and thin where additional detail would be required to make his point effectively. But it's clearly the work of an author strongly committed to the thesis he presents. Hardly a frivolous exercise!

General Tamogami in his essay presents a familiar argument. One that runs counter to most established academic interpretations of his subject. And more important, runs counter to official Government of Japan interpretation. Tamogami’s employer! Japan, he argues, was not the aggressor in World War Two. Or the Great Pacific War. Rather, Japan was forced into war by the anti-Japan behavior of China and the United States. Both powers the victims of manipulation by the Communist “Comintern.”

Further, Tamogami argues, Japan's military presence in Asia since the 1930s was legitimated by treaties between Japan and the countries they occupied. And Japan treated those occupied Asian countries quite well. At least when compared to the colonial practices of European and American powers at the time. Resulting in freeing Asian nations from the domination of “white nations.” Something that would have taken one or two-hundred years to accomplish, had not Japan's military forced the point.

Tamogami also mentions the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Concluding that a militarily defeated Japan was unfairly forced to accept total responsibility for the war by the victors. And that the resulting conventional wisdom has to this day poisoned Japanese public attitudes toward Japan's military.  Making it impossible for Japan's self defense forces to defend Japan's national territory. “Compared to the militaries of other countries, the SDF is bound hand and foot and immobilized. Unless our country is released from this mind control, it will never have a system for protecting itself through its own power,” Tamogami wrote. Forcing Japan now to rely on its alliance with the United States for its national security.

These points in General Tamogami's essay have been covered extensively. First by Japan's political press. And then by official statements and media articles from other countries. One interesting point that I've yet to see mentioned, though, comes in the first two paragraphs of Tamogami's essay. He begins by noting that American troops are stationed in Japan today under the terms of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. And goes on in the second paragraph to compare that situation to Japan's stationing of troops in Asian countries prior to World War Two. Later on he argues that attacks on Japan's troops by Chinese guerrillas were provocations that might be compared to SDF attacks on American troops stationed in Japan today. He later makes a point of supporting the U.S.-Japan alliance as essential to the stability of Asia. But, he insists, Japan should play a larger military role. Hmmm.

Significance of General Tamogami's Essay

So, there you have it. Nothing new in what Tamogami wrote. Revisionist historians, journalists, and even politicians, in Japan have long been making these arguments. Reacting to the conventional interpretation of Japan's responsibility for World War Two. An interpretation established following Japan's military defeat in 1945. Such revision, it seems to me, is inevitable with the passage of time. If history is any guide.

Future generations of Japanese scholars are bound to write interpretations of the history of Japan's international relations that put Japan in a more positive light. Most everyone recognizes the inevitability of that process. Though they may not recognize that the process of revision will be accelerated significantly by other countries using the conventional interpretation of Japan's role tactically in current negotiations. We've seen some evidence of that recently in the response of Japan's attentive public to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Yasukuni Shrine visits. Or, more properly, to China's reaction to those visits, and Koizumi's response. And so on.

But that's not the whole story here. Or even the most important part. The critical point is that this essay was written by an active-duty Japanese military officer. Indeed, one of the most senior, and highly visible, members of the service. The officer responsible for all of Japan's air forces. With full knowledge it would be published for all to read. An essay that runs directly counter to one of the most important elements of Japan's official foreign policy. Hardly something that could, or should, be ignored. Both in Japan and abroad.

“What in the world is going on?” A reasonable observer could ask. “What's happened to the military chain of command in Japan?” “Are Japan's political leaders unable to control their uniformed subordinates?” All reasonable questions. Especially given Japan's unfortunate history during the 1930s and 1940s. Questions with relevance well beyond this single incident. As if Japan's Ministry of Defense didn't have enough stains already on its uniform that require domestic and international explanation!

News of General Tamogami's essay could hardly have pleased Prime Minister Taro Aso's Kantei. Aso himself, as we've noted on this program for months now, is known as a strong conservative. A “hawk” as he's described critically in much of Japan's political media. A reputation Aso seems to be making efforts to soften, or downplay, since his arrival in the Kantei. We talked about that last week, in fact. Now, Aso’s political opposition, including the DPJ and much of Japan’s political media, are more than justified to question his views on Tamogami’s thesis. A distraction that Aso hardly needs at this delicate juncture in Japan’s parliamentary politics.

Government Reaction to General Tamogami’s Essay

Japanese government reaction to the news that Air Force Chief of Staff General Toshio Tamogami had written an article that contradicted official government policy was immediate and appropriate. Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada dismissed Tamogami last Friday from his post as Air Self Defense Chief. Just hours after the essay was published on the Internet. Hamada and Prime Minister Aso both assured an excited press corps that they had no previous knowledge of the essay. That Tamogami had published the essay on his own. Without the permission of his superiors, as required under Defense Ministry regulations.

No sensible observer could believe that General Tamogami had acted with the encouragement, or even knowledge, of Prime Minister Aso and his cabinet. But that certainly will not stop such questions from being asked during Diet deliberations. Already DPJ spokesmen have told the press they intend to press the government’s responsibility for the incident. And that Tamogami’s dismissal was insufficient to quiet their concerns.

This whole business could hardly come at a worse time for Prime Minister Aso. He’s skillfully maneuvered Ichiro Ozawa’s Democratic Party of Japan into a tight parliamentary spot. Delaying the general election. And arguing he has done so in order to pass legislation that will improve Japan’s economy. More on the timing of that election in a moment. Since the last Upper House election, the DPJ has been able to use its Upper House majority to prevent timely passage of legislation. Legislation the LDP considered essential. Aso’s insistence that it’s now more important to stabilize the economy than to “play politics,” has limited the DPJ's room parliamentary maneuver. 

However, publication of General Tamogami’s essay has provided more than ample justification for the DPJ to “pursue government responsibility” for his actions. Resulting in inevitable delays in the passage of important legislation. Including the refueling bill. Providing the DPJ with heaven-sent leverage in parliamentary debate. Enabling them to force greater concessions from the LDP in the inevitable compromises required there. This can’t be good news for the Aso cabinet. And it will be some time before we hear the last of it.

Add to this the opportunity for China, the Koreas, and other countries to cite the Tamogami essay as evidence that Japan remains a questionable actor in foreign affairs. Who hasn’t truly repented of its militarist past. Forcing the Aso Cabinet to respond repeatedly with assurances that Tamogami was expressing personal opinions that contradict official Japanese policy. Over and over and over. Here you have the making of an Excedrin-level headache for the Aso Cabinet.

Why in the World Did Tamogami Submit Such an Essay?

Finally, why in the world did General Tamogami decide to enter his sharply revisionist historical essay in the APA Group’s contest? Well, the simple answer is that he probably believes the argument he made. Believes that the image of Japan’s military has been unfairly tarred with exaggerated interpretations of Japan’s role in World War Two. And that this unfair description of Japan’s wartime role has weakened the military’s ability to defend Japan.

Tamogami’s been saying similar things for some time now, after all. He's well known as an outspoken senior military officer. Whose press conferences in the past have entertained Japan's reporters. It wasn't widely reported at the time. But back in May of this year he was invited to give a lecture at Tokyo University. Todai's National Security Forum issued the invitation. Around 1,000 students attended. Many probably curious to see what the first uniformed military officer to speak at Todai since the War would have to say.

Well, he said pretty much the same thing during his Todai lecture that he wrote in his prize-winning essay. According to press reports at the time, anyway. Asking the students to take a more critical look at the definition of Japan as aggressor during the Great Pacific War. And urging them to have more respect for Japan's uniformed military services.

And just a month prior to that, in April of 2008, General Tamogami was widely reported to have made light of a court ruling during one of those lively press conferences he was famous for. Suggesting that his troops should ignore the court's decision that Japan’s ASDF mission in Iraq was unconstitutional. Again, behavior one would hardly expect from a military officer in such a senior position. A statement that may have cost Tamogami the opportunity to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff! Effectively peaking his career in his current position.

On Monday this week, Tamogami held a press conference to explain his side of the story. He expressed disappointment at his dismissal as Air Force Chief of Staff. Said that he never expected the essay to create such a public fuss. And accused the government of infringing on his right to free speech. Even comparing the situation to conditions in North Korea!

And, Tamogami told the reporters at his press conference, he looked forward to the opportunity to testify in the Diet, if summoned. That he welcomed public debate on the issues he has raised. Oh my! Was this a warning to the Cabinet and government that he could create even more difficult for them, if he wished? Hmmm. That comment couldn't have gone un-noticed in Nagatacho. By either the government or the Opposition. Though the Opposition might well be reluctant to provide a public platform for Tamogami to further express his views. We'll have to wait to see what happens.

Well, what would he say at a press conference called to explain his actions, anyway? It's hard to believe that General Tamogami didn't anticipate the public furor his remarks would make. Both in Japan and in neighboring Asian countries. And the mention of North Korea certainly weakened any public credibility that remained to him.

Had Tamogami resigned his position as Air Force Chief of Staff. Then resigned, or retired, from military service. And made his arguments as an independent citizen, he would have had more credibility. But he didn't. He used his senior military position to intensify media and public attention to his argument. And he certainly had to know he was violating government regulations by not obtaining clearance for his essay before publication.

In all, a most unfortunate incident. General Tamogami probably intended by his actions to improve the reputation of Japan's uniformed military services. But the results have been exactly the opposite of his intentions. Publication of his essay has further eroded the credibility of Japan's military. Both at home and abroad. And has created additional challenges for those responsible for Japan's overall international relations. Too bad. 

Timing of Japan's Next General Election

Now let's consider briefly the timing of Japan's next general election. Japan's political soothsayers and fortune tellers have been predicting a general election now for well over a year. Many of them predicting it with considerable confidence. Both those who have hoped their published predictions would push the incumbent cabinet toward dissolution. And those familiar with European parliamentary politics. Who seemed to believe a parliamentary democracy simply won't tolerate the sort of situation we've seen since the cabinet of Shinzo Abe. Well, there hasn't been a general election yet. Demonstrating once again that Japan's parliamentary system doesn’t behave exactly like its foreign counterparts.

There’s already an enormous journalistic and academic literature available on this subject. In Japanese, of course. And even in English. Nearly everyone listening to this program will know the facts. And will have heard the various interpretations of why Japan’s cabinet hasn’t dissolved the Lower House and called a general election. And why it’s likely to do just that in the very near future.  So I can add only a couple of points that seem to me significant. And that haven’t been given much attention in the press.

The first is the importance of the rules governing public financing of election campaigns. And the second is the actual significance of the general election once it’s held. No predictions. I’m just not that smart. And don’t have any useful “inside information” to share about this. So I’ll just suggest a couple of additional points. And allow you to draw your own conclusions.

The Importance of Public Financing of Election Campaigns

Let’s begin with the growing importance of public financing of election campaigns. Japanese political reformers were able to pass a major revision of the election campaign laws and  regulations in 1994. Under that short-lived Hosokawa Cabinet. The first non-LDP cabinet since that party’s formation in 1955. As we discussed last week, they hoped to reduce the blatant violations of existing campaign finance laws by candidates. Reforms that even most of the LDP delegation realized were necessary. Given growing public cynicism when it came to Japan’s elected government officials.

Among those changes was government subsidy of political campaign costs. Government subsidies at a significant level. In the hope that availability of government funding would reduce pressure on candidates to accept off-the-books, or thinly disguised, funding from special interests. The rules determining those government subsidies are complex. Requiring much more elaborate explanation than we have time for here. So this won’t be a comprehensive treatment. I’ll mention just a couple of points that seem relevant to our consideration today.

First, the government subsidies were given to established political parties. Not to individual candidates. Eligibility required the receiving party to have five or more elected Diet members. The parties, then, were responsible for distributing the funds they received to their members and candidates. This, the reformers hoped, also would strengthen political parties. Leading to more responsible “party government” for Japan. A long-cherished objective of political reformers in most democracies.

The funding provided by the government was based on a complex formula under which each vote received in the last election was worth 250 yen. This figure was based on the Japan national census. Originally. the 1991 census. Payments to the parties, then, made quarterly throughout the year.

However, those quarterly government payments are based on the size of each party’s Diet delegation as of January 1st of the year they’re disbursed. This may well be the most critical point for us to consider today. It seems likely to me that it has influenced Prime Minister Aso’s decision on the timing of the election.

Even the most optimistic of LDP members and supporters expect the LDP to lose a considerable number of seats in the next Lower House election. And expect the main opposition party, the DPJ, to pick up a significant number of those seats. Both in the single-member districts and in the proportional representation districts. If only because the 2005 general election under Koizumi gave the LDP an unexpectedly large majority. A super-majority, in fact. A blessing at the time. But a number of seats everyone knew would be impossible to defend in the next election.

Therefore, it’s a bet-the-farm certainty that the LDP will have considerably fewer total Diet seats and the DPJ will have considerably more seats after the next general election. So, if the next general election were to be held before January 1, 2009, the LDP would be likely to receive smaller quarterly election subsidy payments throughout 2009. And the DPJ’s quarterly payments would be dramatically increased.

Conversely, if Prime Minister Aso waits until after January 1, 2009 to hold the general election, the opposite would be true. Both the LDP’s and the DPJ’s public election finance payments during 2009 would be based upon the current Diet strengths of the two parties. Roughly the same as they have been since January 1, 2006.

This is important. Government payments to subsidize election costs have become increasingly important to all parties accepting them since inauguration of the system. And, as far as I know, all parties eligible do except them, except the Communists. Even the LDP reports that public subsidies account for between 35 and 40 percent of their total reported receipts. And the DPJ figure is considerably higher.

Add to this the cost of delay. That is, the cost of preparing for an election likely to be announced in the next few weeks. Office space must be rented. Campaign workers hired. Campaign signs and literature printed. And all of the other “informal” pre-campaign campaigning expenses paid for on a cash-on-the-barrelhead basis. Most informed observers expected Prime Minister Aso to dissolve the Lower House and call an election at the end of October. Or in November, at the very latest. Parties and candidates expecting to compete had to be ready! Well, it didn’t happen. But they still had to pay for their preparations.

There’s another factor here that seems important to me. For a year or so rumors have been appearing in the weekly magazine press about the DPJ’s financial problems. Less frequently those rumors have penetrated the political pages of the major daily newspapers. “The DPJ’s out of money! Who’ll make up the difference?”

In the beginning it was believed the Hatoyama family had made significant contributions. Or, more accurately, the Ishibashi family. Of Bridgestone Tire fame. When Iichiro Hatoyama’s two sons, Yukio and Kunio, created the party with a few others. As I’ve often noted on this program, my information contacts within the DPJ are quite limited. So I have little to go on but appearances. However, as generous as the Hatoyama family may be, they must have taken note of the fate of another great Kyushu family, the Hosokawas, when family fortunes were poured into national politics.

Even under Ichiro Ozawa’s leadership, the DPJ has had difficulty attracting political contributions. Collecting, according to most accounts, considerably less than half of the amount collected by the LDP. Putting the DPJ further behind their most significant competitor. And to date, if the weekly magazine rumors are to be believed, Ozawa has declined to follow the Hatoyama example. To sacrifice his own considerable fortune to bail out the Party during this time of need. Hmmm.

So, is Prime Minister Aso’s Diet dissolution decision based on this financial calculation? No way to know for sure. But we can be sure that if the election is delayed beyond January 1, 2009, the DPJ will suffer serious financial losses. Something we surely should continue to watch.

The Effect of the Next Election

One final point on the significance of Japan’s next general election. When it is held, how is it likely to affect Japanese domestic politics?

Opposition parties and many media commentators for some time now have been demanding that the prime minister dissolve the Diet and hold a new election. In order to “clarify” Japan’s confused political situation. To sort out the complications of the “twisted Diet,” as it’s called. To assure that the Lower House more accurately reflect the “will of the people.”

Well, that’s hardly a surprise. The LDP won an enormous number of seats in the last general election. In 2005. Not an ideal state of affairs for the opposition parties. One they feel should be rectified as soon as possible!

But what about Japan’s communications media? That’s a more difficult question. Some reporters and their senior editors, of course, simply oppose the LDP and its conservative policies. Others, though, are motivated more by the possibility of having something more exciting to write about. We’ve discussed it before on this program. Journalists prefer to cover boxing matches over bridge tournaments. Hard to know where one motivation leaves off and the other begins. But whatever their motivation, much of Japan’s political media and punditocracy has been sympathetic to the opposition parties’ demands for another general election. And haven’t given all that much attention to what the next election actually will accomplish.

The LDP’s reluctance to call a general election anytime soon is just as easy to understand. They have an enormous Lower House majority now. Larger than they’ve ever had in the history of the Party. They’re able to pass essential legislation with a two-thirds majority over-ride vote even when the Upper House refuses to go along. Why should they dissolve the Lower House and put that super-majority at risk any sooner than they have to?

Well, the fear of voter backlash once the election is held, I suppose. And Japan’s Constitution requires that next election to be held within ten months, at the latest. When the four-year terms of the incumbent members expire. So, all else constant, we can confidently assume that the LDP would like to hang on as long as they can without a general election. And that the opposition parties would like to have another election as soon as possible. Especially after their surprising showing in the last Upper House election.

But what will that election accomplish? How will Japan’s domestic political landscape change as the result of that election? To explore that question we first have to remember that a general election has nothing to do with the Upper House. When Japan’s prime minister “dissolves parliament,” he or she actually dissolves only the Lower House. The Upper House remains. Out of session, but still in office. Ready to be called into session should a national emergency arise. All spelled out in the Constitution.

So, the DPJ’s near-majority, and the LDP’s lack of majority, in the Upper House will remain unchanged after the general election. No matter what the outcome of the general election. Upper House elections are held every three years. With half of the Upper House membership elected each time. An obvious point. But one often overlooked when discussing the effect of general elections. In both Japanese and in English.

This means the LDP, and any LDP potential coalition party, or parties, would have to fall below a majority of the Lower House’s 480 seats for the general election to “clarify” Japan’s domestic political situation. And that the DPJ, and any DPJ potential coalition party, or parties, would have to win a majority of those 480 Lower House seats. Again, for the next general election to “clarify” Japan’s domestic political situation.

Japan’s political media has published a number of academic and journalistic forecasts of the next general election outcome. Some of them very elaborate, and precise in their conclusions. I’ve even read articles claiming to report the results of the parties’ “internal polls” from time to time. But the conclusions of all of these “studies” are all over the lot. All I’ve seen so far predict the LDP will lose a significant number of seats. And that the DPJ will pick up a considerable number. Beyond that the picture fogs beyond responsible assessment.

We can conclude with some confidence that the current LDP/Komeito coalition will lose its two-thirds majority. But that’s about all we can conclude with confidence. Some close-in observers believe the LDP will lose so many seats it will be unable to form a majority coalition. With New Komeito, or any other combination of smaller parties. Giving the DPJ the opportunity to either win a majority outright. Or to gather opposition parties into an anti-LDP majority coalition. That’s certainly possible!

Now, this last scenario is the only outcome of the next general election that would actually “clarify” Japan’s domestic political situation. That is, an election that allowed the DPJ to either win a Lower House majority outright, or to form a majority coalition. Giving the DPJ leadership control over the premiership. And control over both houses of the Diet.

But that’s far from a sure thing. The DPJ leadership, and the LDP opponents within the media and punditocracy hope for such an outcome, of course. But they’d settle for the LDP’s loss of its super-majority in the Lower House. To eliminate the possibility of two-thirds vote Lower House passage of bills rejected by the Upper House. Creating, one must conclude, even less “clarity” in Japan’s domestic political situation. Hmmm.

All of this explains LDP leadership reluctance to dissolve the Lower House and call a general election until they absolutely have to. Prime Minister Aso now claims he must put public worries about the economy before “politics.” And that’s as good an excuse as any, I guess, for the delay. Though, in the end, as with most political issues, the desire to maintain or gain control over the machinery of government best explains the behavior of political actors.

Concluding Comments

Well, we’ve gone way over our time again this week. And certainly don’t have any left to conclude our discussion of political reform, or Seiji Kaikaku. That will have to wait for the next program. Thanks to all who have sent in comments and suggestions for the program via e-mail. I haven’t been able to respond to every one directly. But read and appreciate them all. Keep ‘em coming. They help me to select topics of interest. And to correct errors and misinterpretations.

So, goodbye all. Until next time.