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2012年7月 4日 (水)

民主党分裂 限界に達した政権の内部矛盾

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 4, 2012)
DPJ's inconsistencies end with departure of Ozawa bloc
民主党分裂 限界に達した政権の内部矛盾(7月3日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan has split.

While calling for complete solidarity on the surface, the ruling party has consistently faced internal problems. We can say the party's internal contradictions have ended with a bang.

Former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa and 49 others from both houses of the Diet submitted letters of resignation to the party's executive branch. They are expected to launch a new party sometime this week at the earliest.

The 50 members comprise 38 from the House of Representatives and 12 from the House of Councillors. In the lower house, the group will become the third largest force as the number exceeds that of New Komeito. Ozawa is reportedly considering the creation of a united parliamentary group with other parties including Kizuna Party, which was formed by lawmakers who left the DPJ in December last year.

As Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's administration will barely hold onto its majority in the lower house, its steering of Diet business must become more unstable and severe. Among remaining party members, some might quit depending on the situation.


Stronger ties with opposition

However, with the departure of hard-line rebel lawmakers, the sense of unity in the DPJ may grow. This might make policy decisions smoother.

Concerning bills on the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, Noda emphasized afresh, "I'll fulfill my responsibility by surely passing them into law."

From now on, the DPJ needs to cooperate much more with the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito to ensure early passage of the reform bills and lower house electoral system reform.

In regard to the new party he is likely to launch, Ozawa said, "We'll return to our starting point of regime change and offer a political system in which the people will have a choice." He likely will stress his "anti-consumption tax hike" slogan and try to tie up with regional political parties. However, there are no prospects he will be successful.

In various opinion polls, respondents overwhelmingly said they "don't expect much from a new party envisaged by Ozawa." Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration group) and Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara also say they will not cooperate with Ozawa's new party.

About two-thirds of the 50 members who quit the DPJ have been elected only once--they are generally called "Ozawa kids" and have weak electoral power bases.

They were forced to resign after losing out in an intraparty policy conflict, but they seem to believe they can survive in a new party when the next elections are held for the lower and upper houses.

The DPJ split reveals the risk of a ruling party acting as "mutual aid society for elections" after gathering non-LDP forces without first unifying philosophies and policies.


Pros and cons of having Ozawa

The DPJ merged with the Liberal Party led by Ozawa in September 2003 in preparation for a lower house election, without holding talks on coordinating policies.

Later, Ozawa rebuilt relations with labor unions and regional organizations to ensure victory in upcoming elections. It is true he played an important role in the party taking over the reins of government in 2009.

However, the party had to deal with lawmakers Ozawa gathered around him.

Ozawa's signature political maneuver--acting arbitrarily without consultation--has never changed, creating a pointless confrontation between "pro-Ozawa" and "anti-Ozawa" forces within the party.

It should not be forgotten that the party's manifesto for the 2009 lower house election created under Ozawa's initiative lacked revenue sources and this "negative legacy" has been the cause of constant criticism in recent years.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 3, 2012)
(2012年7月3日01時29分  読売新聞)


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