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2008年5月28日 (水)


(May. 28, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Remove unjust rule on govt appointments

同意人事騒動 「事前報道」規制は削除せよ(5月28日付・読売社説)

Yet again, the government's nomination of officials that require the Diet's approval has caused a real stink.



The ruling and opposition parties had previously agreed in principle that a joint meeting of both Diet houses' steering committees would refuse submission of such nominations for these personnel matters if candidates' names were reported by the media in advance.

We think this restriction should be removed immediately.


On Tuesday morning, the government was scheduled to submit the nominations of 24 people for positions in nine organizations that require the approval of both Diet chambers.


However, this plan ran off the rails when the Democratic Party of Japan's Takeo Nishioka, in his capacity as chairman of the House of Councillors Ways and Means Committee, refused the government's submission of the nominations.

His hackles were raised by reports in several major newspapers' morning editions that Keio University Prof. Kazuhito Ikeo was being tapped for a vacant Bank of Japan Policy Board member post and Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan Gov.

Shunichi Nagata was to get the nod for his reappointment.



The ensuing squabbling resulted in the joint meeting of representatives from Diet steering committees of both houses to be called off--albeit temporarily--before the nominations were given.

However, after the dust settled in the afternoon, the government submitted the nominations, excluding those for Ikeo and Nagata.




Questionable provision


Nishioka's reasoning for refusing the submission was based on a memorandum he exchanged with House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Takashi Sasagawa of the Liberal Democratic Party at the end of October last year.


At that time, they decided on a new rule that was hatched to take into account the unusual balance of power in the Diet in which the ruling parties control the lower house while the opposition parties hold sway in the upper house.

They agreed prior examination by the ruling parties of nominations would be abolished and the appointment plans would be submitted to the joint meeting of representatives from Diet steering committees of both houses.



The provision on dropping the nominations should they be reported in advance was incorporated at this time.


At the most fundamental level, this provision unreasonably restricts the freedom of the press.


This restriction remains in place despite vehement criticism since it first popped up.



Personnel appointments that require the Diet houses' approval are primarily for posts that wield considerable influence on the nation's policies, including the Bank of Japan governor.




Denial of press freedom


Lawmakers should not forget that covering and reporting the news is legitimate obligation of newspapers.



The reporting of the appointments of Ikeo and Nagata is anything but irregular.

We find it despicable that the original nomination plan of the two could be abandoned because of this incident.



Should the rule, which can only be described as an "advance reporting restriction," go unchallenged, all reporting on the government's personnel appointments could become off-limits.


Still fresh in our memory is the flap over the nomination of the Bank of Japan governor, which dragged on and on partly because of the DPJ's unbending attitude over the names put forward by the government.



The newspapers were having a field day engaging in "advance reporting" as the central bank governor issue played out.


So why is the main opposition party so offended by the reporting of the personnel nominations this time?

The party's actions are inconsistent.



The proper criteria for approving or disapproving a nomination at the Diet is whether a person in question has the insight and expertise for a certain job.


insight and expertise=見識、見解と力量、能力、専門知識)

Regardless of what gets reported in the newspapers, it is the Diet that determines such nominations.


The legislature should have the pride to carry out this important job.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 28, 2008)

20085280119  読売新聞)


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