I expect we’re going to see a lot more of these kind of announcements under the new Abe government: “Japan To Push Low-Cost Satellite Launches“($) (I bet this was a civil service/private sector plan put on the back burner under the DPJ, who did not like funding these kinds of big technology plans) and “Government Eyes Public Funds to Aid Manufacturing“($) (government plans to buy and lease back old plant to Japanese companies, so they can invest the money freed up in R&D or capital equipment – not exactly a market centric solution.)
My old mentor, Yorihiko Kojima, (now chairman of Mitsubishi Corporation)’s name keeps cropping up too. He’s in the frame for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce top job apparently, and (as detailed in a more than usually revealing article from the Nikkei) is part of the Sakura-kai, of top executives from Fujifilm, Mitsubishi Heavy, JR, Hitachi etc that had met with Abe or his advisors at least three times last year. Under the previous Abe government, there was a predecessor group,’Kisetsu no kai’ mainly of people who had been at Tokyo University together, including former LDP politician Kaoru Yosano. And I well remember from my Mitsubishi days that Abe’s older brother sat just around the corner on my floor in the Tokyo HQ, running the beer team I think.
It’s easy to see this as reactionary old cronies getting together, reforming the Iron Triangle, I suppose, but if Kojima-san himself is anything to go by, there could well be some progressive influences coming to the fore too. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the announcements about getting more women into government and the LDP leadership didn’t have some private sector urging behind it from people like Kojima-san, and I wonder if there might be some more progressive, immigration and globalization friendly policies being tested out soon too.
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