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2009年12月25日 (金)

鳩山政権の通信簿:マニフェスト検証 ひ弱な「革命政権」=政治部長・小菅洋人

(Mainichi Japan) December 24, 2009
DPJ can't bring itself to finish what it started
鳩山政権の通信簿:マニフェスト検証 ひ弱な「革命政権」=政治部長・小菅洋人

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has lost the public's confidence with the imbroglio surrounding the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture, calling into question his qualifications as leader. Moreover, the confusion has even sparked rumors that he may step down before the House of Councillors race next summer.


Ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa recently visited the Prime Minister's Office to intervene in the government's compilation of the fiscal 2010 budget draft. As a result, the Hatoyama administration was forced to abandon its key principle of leaving policy-making entirely to the discretion of the Cabinet. This has also given the public the impression that the government's ultimate power resides with Ozawa instead of Hatoyama, likely dealing a serious blow to the prime minister's management of the government.

An administration can gain solid support from the public, which gives momentum to its implementation of policy measures, only if its leader has firm belief: a lesson taught by the 5-year and 5-month-long administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

But it goes without saying that there have been positive changes in Japanese politics under the Hatoyama administration.  もちろん日本政治が後退したわけではない。

The new administration has shifted the emphasis of its use of taxpayers money from the construction of buildings, dams and roads to human resources, identified wasteful government projects and is thoroughly investigating the Japan-U.S. secret pacts on the Okinawa reversion and the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan's territory.
Behind these moves is its determination not to implement any measure it cannot explain to the public, a principle of government transparency.

This is a major change in political awareness, and was unachievable under the previous Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-led government, which was notorious for colluding with bureaucrats and businessmen.

Nonetheless, the Hatoyama administration came to an impasse in trying to advance its own political agenda, after destroying the LDP-led administration's legacy.

Hatoyama does not appear to have a clear vision in trying to redefine the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Now is the time for the prime minister to revive his administration.

Hatoyama should hold a news conference at an early date to explain the failure to abolish the provisional tax rate added to the gasoline tax, as he had pledged, and the postponement of a decision on the Futenma relocation -- answering those who have labeled him as inscrutable.

Moreover, it is necessary to restructure the organization that supports the prime minister in the executive branch of the government.

The administration's confusion over its policies has been caused by the National Policy Unit's failure to work out the basic principles of compiling a state budget.

When the DPJ was an opposition party, it was pointed out that legislators freely expressed their opinions but failed to make a decision on policy issues. The situation has remained unchanged even after it took over the reins of government, as shown by the fact that Cabinet ministers express conflicting views on various policy issues.

The LDP, which had been in power for decades until it suffered a crushing defeat in the Aug. 30 general election, is now unable to take over the government.

Under the circumstances, one cannot help but wonder the DPJ optimistically believes that it can stay in power even if the prime minister changes.

Hatoyama's three consecutive predecessors stepped down after serving for only one year. If the same thing happens to a DPJ-led government, the public will be thoroughly disillusioned by politics.

The prime minister should be fully aware of the situation he is in and start over to revive his administration. (By Hiroto Kosuge, Political News Editor)

毎日新聞 2009年12月24日 東京朝刊


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