I'm attending the STS Forum in Kyoto again this year and it turns out that the election date for the Japanese parliament ended up on the same day as the first day of the event. Prime Minister Koizumi was still able to make it to the meeting which is the brainchild of Koji Omi. I'm a great fan of Koji Omi. He's one of the only politicians I know who studies and actually reads everything people send him to read. He's a former bureaucrat who became powerful for his intelligence and analysis among other things. Last night, we were having a nightcap in the hotel as the results of the election were coming in and Mr. Omi was understandably happy as each of the over 40 candidates that he had visited and endorsed came in winning.
Later, I received a distressed email from Karel van Wolferen, with whom I had just had dinner. Karel is very worried about the LDP and Koizumi's ability to reform Japan. He has given me permission to post some material he has written in the past (With Koizumi at the Theatre - September 5, 2005) and is going to be writing a piece for the Asahi about the election which I will post when he sends it to me. I am putting the material on the wiki. I urge you to read it and comment on the wiki. Karel is the most lucid critic of Japanese policy and politics that I know and his book, the Enigma of Japanese Power was the beginning of my increased understanding about Japan. I think he has an important role in helping people understand Japan moving forward and am glad he has come back to Japan (temporarily) to participate in the process. Thanks Karel.