Abe, who faces his first major electoral test in a July 29 upper house poll, is trying to soothe voter outrage over mismanaged pension records, but the Nikkei said its survey showed he has failed to do so.[...]Oh, that we could insist Bush return some of his oil companies' bail out money for the piss poor job he's done keeping gasoline prices down, or that Dick Cheney would be forced to return some of his ill-gotten gains from Halliburton as a result of this hideous train wreck of a war!
Abe will return 2.34 million yen ($18,890) of his summer bonus of 5.36 million yen to take responsibility for the pensions issue, chief cabinet secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki told a news conference.
"As head of the government, the prime minister has decided to do this to take responsibility for the pension issue," Shiozaki said, adding that he and Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa will also return 940,000 yen of their bonuses.
Or goodness knows how many other Cabinet and near-Cabinet level officers would be forced to return money earned in the industries they've had what we can laughingly call "oversight" in!
But more important...
Abe's recent low poll numbers have not been seen for a prime minister since the gaffe-prone Yoshiro Mori, who was forced to step down in April 2001.[...]If only...
Abe will not automatically have to resign if his ruling coalition loses its majority in the upper house, and it could control the chamber by wooing independents or members of tiny parties if it falls short of majority by a few seats.
But a major defeat would mean the ruling bloc would be unable to enact legislation, which must be approved by both houses of parliament, threatening political paralysis and prompting calls for Abe to resign or even call a snap lower house election.
But here's the telling quote that President Bush ought to pay attention to, from his NBFF..."Japanese citizens are feeling very angry about how this has been handled, so I felt that I needed to take responsibility."
Responsibility, a word Bush has little experience with.