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2008年11月29日 (土)

党首討論 こじれたままのねじれ国会

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2008)

Aso-Ozawa debate solved nothing

党首討論 こじれたままのねじれ国会(1129日付・読売社説)

At their first one-on-one parliamentary debate as heads of their parties, Prime Minister Taro Aso and Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa avoided exchanging barbs, but could not bring themselves to try to disentangle the current imbroglio at the Diet.


Ozawa, who had been seen as being reluctant to hold such a debate, took the offensive.


He repeatedly urged Aso to submit an additional supplementary budget to the current Diet session. "The prime minister has been saying that he'll put priority on economic stimulus measures over holding an election [for the House of Representatives]," Ozawa said. "It's not too late. It's only logical for the prime minister to submit a second supplementary budget during this Diet session."


Aso reiterated his intention to submit an extra budget at the onset of the next ordinary Diet session to be convened in January. If that was his plan, Aso should dissolve the lower house "immediately," Ozawa shot back.


There is no doubt that Ozawa's arguments about an additional supplementary budget were persuasive to a certain degree, considering the fact that Aso was an ardent advocate of swiftly implementing more economic pump-priming measures.


Ozawa apparently intended to badger Aso on this point so as to highlight the prime minister's missteps.



DPJ's stance contradictory

But if Aso's stance is blameworthy, Ozawa's party, too, cannot escape criticism for its problematic actions.


First of all, the DPJ reneged on an accord to take a vote at the House of Councillors on a bill to revise the new Antiterrorism Law that would extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean and demanded an additional supplementary budget be submitted to the current Diet session. Its action can be only described as reckless.


It is, therefore, justifiable for the ruling coalition to hesitate over the submission of a supplementary budget during this session even though the DPJ said it would not intentionally try to prolong Diet deliberations.


A global economic deterioration due to the ongoing financial crisis has dealt a serious blow to the Japanese economy, but the DPJ has not agreed to take a vote on a bill to resurrect the Law on Special Measures for Strengthening Financial Functions. Its attitude toward the bill clearly contradicts its reasoning for demanding the early submission of a supplementary budget to the Diet.


It was only natural for Aso to demand an early vote on the financial functions bill and stress the importance of having constructive talks between parties. In essence, the financial functions bill will be a good theme on which the ruling and opposition parties could forge policy coordination. The parties must remove as soon as possible roadblocks that are preventing the passage of the bill in this extended Diet session.



More jousts needed

Aso was unable to drive Ozawa into a corner during Friday's debate over the DPJ's hard-to-understand attitude toward the bill to revise the new Antiterrorism Law, probably because the prime minister is on the defensive, largely due to a spate of gaffes he made recently.


The current Diet session will be extended by 25 days beyond Sunday. The two party leaders cannot avoid criticism for having created the current morass in Diet deliberations.


Both Aso and Ozawa must be fully aware that if they allow their distrust toward each other to deepen, they will make it hard for themselves to carry out their political duties. We hope the two leaders will have more one-on-one debates at the Diet, making it a forum for lively arguments.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun Nov. 29, 2008)

200811290145  読売新聞)


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