« 菅内閣発足 国家戦略を明確に示す時だ | トップページ | 国会延長問題 予算委での政策論争が必要だ »

2010年6月10日 (木)

菅内閣:発足 民主、ラストチャンス=政治部長・小菅洋人

(Mainichi Japan) June 9, 2010
Public gives DPJ one last chance to run the country properly
菅内閣:発足 民主、ラストチャンス=政治部長・小菅洋人

Prime Minister Naoto Kan stuck to his conviction on how he will run the government when he appointed members of his new Cabinet and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) executive office.

As was shown by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who stayed in power for 5 1/2 years, the public sympathizes with not only the policies of an administration but also its leader's conviction.

In that sense, Kan's personnel changes aimed at reducing DPJ heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa's influence on the government, are expected to facilitate his implementation of policy measures.

This past week saw a drama of political change -- in which Kan's predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, brought down Ozawa, both of who were instrumental in achieving the historic transfer of power last year. Hatoyama did this right in front of DPJ legislators. After making up his mind to step down himself, he also demanded Ozawa resign.

However, one cannot help but wonder how far Ozawa, who has declared that he would lead the party's campaign for the upcoming House of Councillors election, will retain his influence.

The tug-of-war between Kan and Ozawa will certainly cast a shadow over the government.

However, a power struggle is permitted only if it is the means to lay the groundwork for implementing policy measures that the leader firmly believes in.

Today, Japan has no leeway to get excited over a struggle between factions within the governing party.

Kan has declared that he will create a strong economy, strong finances and strong social security as a package. Specifically, he is aiming to unify his economic growth strategy and measures to balance the debt-ridden budget and improve the pension, health care and nursing care programs to create a society in which taxpayers can feel secure.

To achieve the goal, discussion on a hike in the 5 percent consumption tax is unavoidable. His determination to clearly show a roadmap toward a consumption tax hike will be tested during the election campaign.

His efforts to eliminate Ozawa's influence means he must get away from the DPJ's election-first policy, in which the party pledged to implement various policy measures in a bid to win elections at the expense of consistencies such as how to secure financial resources.

Kan has learned from the failure of his predecessor, a lesson that the public views as evidence that people could no longer trust Hatoyama's words.

If the prime minister says, "We'll at least seek to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma out of Okinawa Prefecture," the public trusts his words, even if this goal was extremely difficult to achieve.

A prime minister is not an almighty god, and cannot achieve his policy goals unless he teams up with the chief Cabinet secretary, other Cabinet ministers and the secretaries general of the ruling coalition parties as well as bureaucrats. Even though the DPJ has called for the transformation of bureaucrat-dominated government into one led by politicians, the prime minister should not exclude bureaucrats, who are a group of professionals, from policy-making processes for no reason.

The previous administration had no enthusiasm about dealing with bills and implementing policies through close cooperation between the Cabinet and ruling coalition partners due to a lack of policy discussions among policymakers among coalition partners.

Kan is now endeavoring to rectify this problem by reviving the DPJ Policy Research Committee and through his appointments of Cabinet members and top party officers.

At the same time, however, it is inappropriate that the new administration -- which places top priority on policy issues rather than elections -- is discussing the pros and cons of extending the current Diet session from the sole viewpoint of whether it will help the DPJ win the Upper House race.

Confusion within the administration of former Prime Minister Hatoyama is still fresh in our memory, and Kan's ability still remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the approval ratings for the DPJ have sharply risen again since Kan was elected prime minister, obviously because the public once again places great hope for a transfer of power. In other words, the DPJ has been given one last chance to run the government. (By Hiroto Kosuge, Political News Editor)

毎日新聞 2010年6月9日 東京朝刊


« 菅内閣発足 国家戦略を明確に示す時だ | トップページ | 国会延長問題 予算委での政策論争が必要だ »





« 菅内閣発足 国家戦略を明確に示す時だ | トップページ | 国会延長問題 予算委での政策論争が必要だ »