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2012年6月 8日 (金)

修正協議へ 党利党略排し大胆に譲歩せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 8, 2012)
All sides must make concessions over reform bills
修正協議へ 党利党略排し大胆に譲歩せよ(6月7日付・読売社説)

The ruling and opposition parties have finally come to terms.

The secretaries general of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito held talks Wednesday in which the DPJ and the LDP reached a broad agreement to start discussions on revising bills related to integrated reform of the social security and tax systems.

Only about two weeks remain before the current Diet session ends June 21. The ruling and opposition parties should put away party interests and make bold concessions on the bills.

DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said he and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda "are of the same mind" regarding a vote on the bills. He indicated the DPJ will reach a deal with opposition parties on revisions to the bills by June 15--a de facto deadline in the current Diet session--and put the bills to a vote in the House of Representatives before the session ends.

Koshiishi thereby accepted a demand from the LDP and Komeito that the DPJ present a schedule for a vote on the bills.


Onus also on LDP

Previously, Koshiishi insisted the bills would be put to a vote once talks on revising the bills were settled. He had a point. However, he changed tack apparently because Noda again urged the DPJ leadership to quickly create an environment conducive to talks on the revisions.

The LDP and Komeito are still wary that Koshiishi might try to postpone the vote on the bills out of fear that it might trigger a split in the DPJ. Koshiishi needs to dispel such concerns.

During talks to modify the bills, the DPJ must not stick to its plan to create a new pension system, which centers on a guaranteed minimum pension, and to abolish the medical insurance system for people aged 75 and older. These issues have been major obstacles in the DPJ's efforts to build a consensus with the LDP and Komeito.

We urge the LDP also to make concessions to the DPJ.

The LDP should not be so intent on squeezing out "a promise to dissolve the lower house," which LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki and others have demanded, at this stage. Such a promise by the DPJ could prompt party lawmakers who are neutral on the bills to revolt and lean toward members who oppose the proposed legislation. This would clog the process of revising the bills.

Rather than only setting high hurdles for the DPJ to clear, it is important that the LDP firstly find points on which all sides can agree on during talks to amend the bills.


Komeito being irresponsible

Komeito, meanwhile, has done little more than repeatedly demand that the government and the DPJ present the entire picture of the envisaged social security system. Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi is negative toward participating in negotiations to revise the bills, saying, "Revising [the bills] in a short period of time is very unreasonable."

We think Yamaguchi is being overly rigid.

Integrated reform is a task that whatever party is in power will face. As a former ruling party, Komeito's handling of this matter has been irresponsible.

A lower house special committee that is deliberating the bills decided to hold a Diet hearing on them, which is a precondition for a vote, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The bills therefore can be put to a vote on Thursday or later.

The bills' fate will hinge on whether all sides can agree on the revisions before a vote is held in the lower house.  勝負は、衆院の採決である。

Under the divided Diet, even if the bills pass the lower house by majority vote by the ruling parties, they could be voted down in the House of Councillors, where the opposition holds sway.

The ruling and opposition parties should do everything in their power to jointly compile revised bills.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 7, 2012)
(2012年6月7日01時13分  読売新聞)


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