Without a will to change, political parties cannot ever survive:The Asahi Shimbun


“Dynamic equilibrium” is a concept propounded by biologist Shinichi Fukuoka, who likens the body of a living being to a “flow” of nutrients.

Because of the incessant process of decomposition and synthesis occurring in the human body, says Fukuoka, every individual becomes a “totally different person” on the molecular level after one year.

Fukuoka noted in a recent issue of The Asahi Shimbun: “Life constantly destroys and rebuilds itself. This is to say that it keeps changing (in small ways) to prevent changing (in a big way).”

I believe this applies to organizations, too.

Japanese politics has been heading for a two-party system. The Liberal Democratic Party has survived by continuing to change in its own way. The public may have become fed up with the Abe administration, but it is still unthinkable that voters will dump the LDP anytime soon.

But what about any other party challenging the LDP?

In the 1990s, Shinshinto (New Frontier Party) was seen as one of the two major political entities. But when its fortunes began to decline, the party adopted the slogan of “kaito-teki denaoshi” (prepared to even dissolve the party to make a fresh start). And the party actually disbanded in the end.

The present Democratic Party is in such a pathetic state of decline, it seems almost too late to try to rebuild it under the same slogan. Even though the party is lacking energy, there is strong centrifugal force at work, suggesting it is close to what I might call “static destruction.”

In Britain, where the two-party system is firmly established, the Labor Party has changed course dramatically and is now advocating “big government.” Given that the party used to advocate what it called “The Third Way,” it appears to be a different entity altogether today.

But even then, the party still functions as an effective alternative to the Conservative Party that continues to stand for fiscal austerity.

The Democratic Party seems to be getting its final chance.

The Abe administration has failed to take coherent measures to correct social and economic disparities, although the economy has more or less stabilized.

It is my hope that Democratic Party will focus on this issue for a start.

–The Asahi Shimbun, July 29

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.

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