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2009年9月 9日 (水)

社説:「鳩山内閣」人事 脱官僚が命運を握る

(Mainichi Japan) September 8, 2009
Fate of DPJ-led administration hinges on whether it can bring about reform
社説:「鳩山内閣」人事 脱官僚が命運を握る

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Yukio Hatoyama, who is set to be elected prime minister and launch his administration in mid-September, has selected candidates for key Cabinet ministers. Acting leader Naoto Kan will be named as deputy prime minister and state minister overseeing the National Strategy Bureau, while Secretary-General Katsuya Okada will be appointed as foreign minister. Hirofumi Hirano, a close aide to Hatoyama, will assume the post of chief Cabinet secretary.

DPJ chief election strategist Ichiro Ozawa is set to take the post of party secretary-general. Hatoyama has apparently decided to appoint influential DPJ members to key posts in his administration to wipe away the public's concern about the upcoming transfer of power while giving consideration to the balance between intraparty factions. His appointments should be regarded as appropriate.

Particularly noteworthy is the expected appointment of Kan as state minister in charge of the National Strategy Bureau. It will be the key government organization that the DPJ will set up to transform the bureaucrat-dominated government into one led by politicians. The bureau is supposed to draft the outline of state budget drafts and work out basic diplomatic policies. The fate of the new administration hinges on whether the bureau will properly function and fundamentally reform the policy-making process.

Since establishment of the bureau requires legal revisions, it will be officially launched after the Diet passes relevant bills into law at an extraordinary session to be convened in October. With the establishment of the bureau, the DPJ appears to be considering revamping the vertically divided administrative setup and transferring the authority to compile state budget drafts from the Finance Ministry to the prime minister's office. The party is studying a plan to appoint DPJ legislators, policymakers within the party, bureaucrats and experts in the private sector as well as local government heads, such as mayors and governors, to the new body

Kan had served as health and welfare minister in the coalition government comprised of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the now defunct New Party Sakigake, and forced bureaucrats to uncover secret documents on mass infections of HIV through tainted blood products. He is expected to use his leadership ability to transform the bureaucrat-led government into one led by politicians. It is hoped that he will make full use of bureaucrats while working closely with Hatoyama.

Another focal point of the new administration is that Kan will double as chairman of the DPJ Policy Research Committee. His role is to reform the process of making policies through prior consultations between bureaucrats and LDP legislators who have influence at ministries and agencies concerned and ensure that the prime minister's office and the party will cooperate closely in working out policies.

Measures that a DPJ-led administration will take to transform the government into one led by politicians -- including abolition of meetings of administrative vice ministers at all ministries and agencies which had a huge influence on the Cabinet's decision-making -- should be highly appreciated.

The DPJ will agree with the SDP and the People's New Party to form a coalition government and select candidates for all other Cabinet ministers before Hatoyama is elected prime minister at a special Diet session on Sept. 16.

The DPJ's reforms will never be totally completed only by changing the system on the surface. The DPJ's goal of transforming the bureaucrat-dominated administration into one led by legislators means that each individual DPJ legislator's ability will be tested. Hatoyama is expected to proactively appoint not only veteran politicians but also capable younger legislators to important posts to achieve these reforms.

毎日新聞 2009年9月8日 東京朝刊


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