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2012年6月27日 (水)

一体法案採決へ 首相は造反の抑制に全力を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 27, 2012)
Noda must suppress rebellion in vote on integrated reform
一体法案採決へ 首相は造反の抑制に全力を(6月26日付・読売社説)

Under the current divided Diet, political progress is only possible when the ruling and opposition parties agree. If fiscal rehabilitation and social security system reform can be achieved at the initiative of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, it would be a hugely significant development.

Bills on integrated reform of the social security and tax systems--with an increase in the consumption tax rate as the main pillar--will finally be put to a vote in the House of Representatives plenary session Tuesday afternoon.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda commented on the agreement among the three parties on revisions to the bills at a lower house special committee to deliberate them.
"We've managed to overcome our different stances and agree on issues that clearly divide public opinion in two. This was a big step forward," Noda emphasized.


Rebellion within DPJ

The bills will undoubtedly pass the lower house, where they are backed by the three parties and others. The ruling and opposition parties must ensure the bills pass the House of Councillors to make them into laws.

It took a long time to forge a consensus and reach this point. DPJ executives went to great lengths to coordinate support for the bills within their party.

Despite these efforts, a considerable number of DPJ lawmakers, who should be supporting the prime minister, have showed their intent to rebel during the vote--the final stage of the process. We think this is extremely regrettable.

Former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa has been trying to unite his supporters with an eye to voting against the bills and forming a new party. He reportedly told close aides they can win the next lower house election only if they vow "no tax hikes and no nuclear power plants."

If Ozawa actually said this, his actions are nothing but maneuvers in a power struggle that will invite a national crisis.

The problem will arise when 42 or more DPJ lower house members, including Ozawa, leave the party.

If they link up with Kizuna Party, which was formed by a group of former DPJ members who split from the party late last year, they will have enough numbers to submit a no-confidence motion against the Noda Cabinet.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested that if Ozawa leads the submission of a no-confidence motion, the LDP must consider voting for it.


Don't nullify 3-party agreement

The LDP and Komeito would be left in an awkward spot if they have to respond to such a motion. If the motion passed the lower house before the integrated reform bills clear the upper house, and the lower house is dissolved for a general election, the three-party agreement on the bills would be nullified and the strenuous efforts to make a deal would all go down the drain.

This situation must be avoided by all means.

Noda told a meeting of DPJ lower house members: "If we keep kicking the can of reform down the road, this country will collapse. We shouldn't run away from a national crisis; rather we should face up to it. I'd like to make such politics a reality." He called on the DPJ lawmakers to stand together and vote for the bills.

We believe that not every member of the groups led by Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama aim to topple the Cabinet. Many of them must be aware of Japan's critical fiscal situation and the necessity of rebuilding the nation's social security system, and thus are thinking about voting for the bills.

Noda and DPJ executives including Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi should do everything in their power to persuade every DPJ member to vote for the bills. The strength of the Noda administration will be on the line when the bills are put to a vote.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 26, 2012)
(2012年6月26日01時26分  読売新聞)


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