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2011年8月12日 (金)

社説:首相退陣を明言 代表選の始動を急げ

(Mainichi Japan) August 11, 2011
DPJ should launch leadership race to replace Kan's successor
社説:首相退陣を明言 代表選の始動を急げ

A breakthrough was achieved in the political deadlock on Aug. 10 when Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared in the Diet that he will step down after the Diet passes into law two key bills -- one on the issuance of special government bonds to cover disaster-recovery measures and the other on a renewable energy tariff system.

Kan had pledged to step down on condition that the two bills become law. The focus of attention has shifted to formation of a new administration.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and two key opposition parties -- the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito -- have agreed to help the bills clear the Diet.
The compromise the three parties struck in a bid to avert political chaos should be welcome.

The transfer of power to a new administration should be achieved within this month to avoid adversely affecting the government's efforts to restore quake- and tsunami-hit areas and Japan's diplomatic schedule.

The DPJ is urged to fix the schedule for the party presidential election to pick Kan's successor so that DPJ legislators and other members can evaluate the Kan administration's achievements and problems and hold thorough policy debates.

Numerous members of the public apparently feel that the government barely averted falling apart amid the deadlocked political situation.

In return for passage of the bill on the issuance of special government bonds to finance work to restore disaster-hit areas, the DPJ decided to abolish child care allowances provided to households with children and review its key campaign pledges, including measures to make expressways toll free.
The LDP and New Komeito accepted the offer.

Some hardliners within the LDP had insisted that it should not compromise with the governing party and hang tough in demanding that Kan dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap general election.
However, if the passage of the bills had been delayed, it could have set back the disbursement of funds to cover disaster recovery measures from the state budget.

The ruling and opposition camps are likely to compromise on revisions to the bill on the renewable energy tariff system shortly. When the Diet passes the two bills into law in late August, it will lay the groundwork for Kan to step down.

Questions remain as to whether Kan, who opposition parties said had attempted to cling to power despite his promise to step down, had desired such a development.
However, he must keep his pledge to step down when the conditions are met.

He has lost his leadership power and the government is in confusion.

The time is ripe for him to resign.

Kan should make sure that he will smoothly hand over power to the next prime minister during the current Diet session that ends on Aug. 31.

Depending on the schedule of the Diet and the DPJ leadership race, the election of the next prime minister could be delayed to the next extraordinary Diet session.

However, a framework for cooperation between ruling and opposition parties should be established under the new prime minister as soon as possible to compile a third supplementary budget to finance fully-fledged measures to restore disaster-hit areas and victims' livelihoods and secure sufficient financial resources for such efforts.

The government is also under pressure to put Japan's diplomacy back on track as Japan's prime minister is expected to visit the United States soon.

During the DPJ leadership race, party members must clarify problems involving the Kan Cabinet and the administration of his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama that have proven to lack the capacity to govern.
Moreover, the DPJ is required to specifically review its campaign pledge and work out measures to reform the tax system and social security programs and a basic plan to secure financial resources for disaster recovery efforts.  日程上の制約があるとはいえ、「ポスト菅」を決める代表選もおざなりに終わらせていいはずがない。

Whether the next administration should take over Kan's pledge to review Japan's policy of promoting nuclear power generation will also be an important point of contention during the leadership race.

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda and former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi are expected to run for president of the DPJ. Unless the DPJ picks a new leader after thorough discussions based on its reflection on the Hatoyama and Kan cabinet's misrule, it cannot restore the public's confidence in it.

Prime Minister Kan should allow the party to fix the schedule for the leadership election even before the House of Councillors passes the two key bills into law.

毎日新聞 2011年8月11日 2時31分


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