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2011年1月25日 (火)

自民党大会 政策で責任政党の役割果たせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 25, 2011)
Opposition LDP must take responsible policy role
自民党大会 政策で責任政党の役割果たせ(1月24日付・読売社説)

As long as it aims to retake the reins of government, the Liberal Democratic Party must responsibly involve itself in tackling impending issues such as whether to raise the consumption tax rate and join negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement.

In its annual convention Sunday, the LDP adopted an action plan to retake power as quickly as possible by pushing the Democratic Party of Japan-led government into dissolving the House of Representatives for a snap general election.

LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki took a confrontational stance toward the government led by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, saying: "We'll grill the DPJ-led government over its policy failures. It's our responsibility as a fighting opposition party."

But it can hardly be said the party has fully recovered its strength, as its action plan mentions it is too early to conclude that its stunning victory in last summer's House of Councillors election meant the voters want the LDP to return to power.

In recent opinion polls, more people have picked the LDP over the DPJ as the party they would vote for in the lower house proportional representation bloc election. But it is reasonable to attribute this preference to the DPJ's failures. The LDP needs to play a role to check the DPJ-led government as well as to make steady efforts to regain public trust.


Rigid stance doesn't help

It is indispensable for the LDP to show a constructive stance on policy matters that could determine the nation's fate because it would have to tackle these issues if it regained power.

Tanigaki said at the party convention the DPJ must give up on the policies outlined in its campaign platform for the 2009 lower house election as a prerequisite for suprapartisan talks on reforming the tax and social security systems.

He also complained that Kaoru Yosano, a former LDP lawmaker and currently state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, has assumed the post in charge of these issues.

It is true that many of the government's policies, such as cash handouts for child-rearing and other allowances, must be reexamined. But if the LDP clings to the position of not consulting with the government unless the DPJ gives up on the policies in its campaign platform, there will be no progress in discussions about key issues.

The LDP must enter into talks with the ruling coalition without setting any conditions if the latter compiles and offers concrete measures on tax and social security system reforms. The LDP also should put aside its grudge against Yosano.


Why no reference to TPP?

It is beyond our understanding that the LDP's action plan does not refer to participation in the TPP. Its secretary general, Nobuteru Ishihara, said before that the party would clarify its position on the matter in March.

Many LDP lawmakers fear the party will lose votes if it pushes TPP participation, a policy strongly opposed by agricultural organizations.

If the LDP hesitates to clarify its position on the TPP issue for that reason, it is not qualified to criticize the ruling coalition parties. The LDP, for its part, must promptly work out an intraparty consensus in favor of TPP participation.

The issue over the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture has been left pending since the LDP was in power.

The LDP cannot avoid criticism for being irresponsible if it sticks only to criticizing the DPJ.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 24, 2011)
(2011年1月24日01時11分  読売新聞)


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