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2009年5月30日 (土)

補正予算成立 危機対応に必要な与野党協調

The Yomiuri Shimbun(May. 30, 2009)
Compromise required to overcome crisis
補正予算成立 危機対応に必要な与野党協調(5月30日付・読売社説)

Swiftly implementing stimulus measures is the key to getting the country out of its worst economic crisis in the postwar era. The government should place top priority on bringing forward the enforcement of the supplementary budget, which is linked to the initial budget for the current fiscal year.

The fiscal 2009 supplementary budget, which is worth the largest-ever amount of 13.93 trillion yen, cleared the Diet on Friday. Together with the initial budget, the total budget topped 100 trillion yen for the first time.

The country's gross domestic product plunged an annualized 15.2 percent in the January-March period, marking a record contraction for two consecutive quarters. Although some economic indicators appear to be bottoming out, it is still too early to be optimistic.

What is important now is to implement policies incorporated in the extra budget, including those concerning finance, employment, public works projects, agriculture and child-support programs, as quickly as possible to ensure seamless economic management.


DPJ's flexible stance laudable

The extra budget was submitted to the Diet on April 27 and passed the House of Representatives on May 13. A focus of attention was how the Democratic Party of Japan, led by Yukio Hatoyama, which says it will uphold former President Ichiro Ozawa's policy line, would deal with it during deliberations in the opposition-controlled House of Councillors.

The main opposition party criticized the contents of the extra budget as pork-barrel spending, but did not resort to using tactics to unnecessarily prolong deliberations on it. Amid the global recession, the DPJ apparently judged that delaying the implementation of the economic stimulus package would not gain public understanding. This was encouraging.

The ruling parties and the DPJ largely agreed on four bills related to the extra budget after discussing revisions to them. The DPJ deserves praise for its constructive response.

The four bills likely will be supported by the DPJ and are expected to pass the lower house next week.

The Liberal Democratic Party and the DPJ also agreed Wednesday to include an additional clause in a bill to revise the Development Bank of Japan law that would delay a planned full privatization of the state-backed bank by 3-1/2 years as part of measures to facilitate corporate fund-raising. The additional clause was inserted in consideration of the DPJ, which opposes the DBJ's full privatization.

Bills to create a consumer affairs agency, which were revised jointly by the ruling and opposition parties, became law Friday with a unanimous vote at a plenary session of the upper house.


Divided Diet paralyzes politics

Under the "divided Diet" that emerged after the 2007 upper house election, with the opposition parties enjoying a majority in the upper house, the ruling and opposition parties have often engaged in fruitless confrontation, thus wasting time. Malfunctioning politics damages the interests of people of this country.

To respond effectively to the crisis, the ruling and opposition parties need to adopt a flexible approach in Diet affairs in which they coordinate their policies when necessary to actively seek points of compromise.

In the current Diet session, important bills, including an antipiracy bill and a bill to revise the National Pension Law, will be deliberated at the upper house.

The government and ruling parties plan to extend the session for a long period to ensure the passage of those bills. Even if it intends to oppose the bills, the DPJ should maintain its stance of accepting Diet voting after deliberations have been held for a certain period.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 30, 2009)
(2009年5月30日01時37分  読売新聞)


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