Recently, there has been much criticism of his Cabinet picks. The November resignation of his inexperienced Justice minister some say presage the departure soon of many others. Needed, they say, are more tough guys like Seiji Maehara.
One of the striking features about Kan’s cabinets, thus far, has been the decreasing influence of ultra conservatives. In the past, 50% or more of the Cabinet Ministers were of members of the ultra-rightist Nippon Kaigi and various parliamentary leagues supporting a range of nationalist and retrogressive causes, such as Emperor worship and the rewriting of history textbooks. Whereas Hatoyama has three Nippon Kaigi members in his Cabinet, Kan has only one--Seiji Maehara, who some believe will be the next Prime Minister.
Nippon Kaigi or Japan Conference is Japan’s largest nationalist organization. It was established on May 30, 1997, through the merger of the “National Congress to Defend Japan (Nippon wo Mamoru Kokumin-Kaigi)” founded in 1981 and the “Society to Defend Japan (Nippon wo Mamoru Kai)” founded in 1974. The new organization was a product of their effort to unite rightist pro-constitutional revision forces that had promoted at the grassroots level since the 1970s movements demanding constitutional revision, legalization of the imperial era name, and opposition to the separate surname system for married couples.
It has also been active in keeping the North Korea abduction issue alive, wants Japan to possess nuclear weapons and has been critical of the United States for bringing pacifism to Japan and “tricking” Japan into the War. Both Prime Ministers Aso and Abe held leadership positions within the organization as have heads of major Japanese corporations such as Fujitsu and Bridgestone.
One way to think about the organization is to see it as the John Birch Society at the height of its influence in the 1960s. Its members were virulently segregationist, anti-communist, anti-semitic and anti-Catholic, pro-apartheid, and advocates of the traditional family. They advocated a return to traditional American Christian values and pulling the US out of the UN. The Koch family, which now funds many Tea-party organizations and conservative groups like FreedomWorks, was a major funder of the John Birch Society.
Although, Maehara is the only "minister" who is a member of Nippon Kaigi, there are a number members in other positions within the Cabinet. As of September 17, 2010 they were:
Seiji Maehara, Foreign Minister (R) [前原 誠司, 外務]
Kan Suzuki, Secretary of Nippon Kaigi; Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (R) [鈴木 寛, 文部科学]
Toshiaki Koizumi, Parliamentary Secretary of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (R) [小泉 利明, 国土交通]
Shuu Watanabe, Japan Election Measures Committee Chair (Party Member)[渡辺 周, 選挙対策委員長]
**Ryuu Hirofumi, Parliamentary Secretary of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (R) [浩史 笠, 文部科学]
Signatories of Washington Post Advocacy Ad June 14, 2007 Condemning H.Res. 121 Asking Japan for an Official Apology for the Comfort Women
Izumi Yoshida, Parliamentary Secretary of Finance (R) [吉田 泉, 財務]
Kenko Matsuki, Nippon Kaigi Vice President; Parliamentary Secretary of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (R) [松木 謙公, 農林水産省]
** Ryuu Hirofumi, Parliamentary Secretary of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (R) [浩史 笠, 文部科学]
*"R" indicates that he/she is a member of the House of Representatives/Lower House.
** Ryuu Hirofumi is BOTH a Nippon Kaigi Member and a Washington Post Signatory.