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2012年8月10日 (金)

民自公党首合意 一体改革の再確認を評価する

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 10, 2012)
Parties should be commended for reaffirming integrated reform
民自公党首合意 一体改革の再確認を評価する(8月9日付・読売社説)

A crisis in the country's politics was narrowly averted. We commend the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito for acting sensibly in dealing with the recent political impasse.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi agreed during a meeting Wednesday night to ensure the early passage of bills for integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, the main pillar of which is to raise the consumption tax rate. It is highly significant that the three parties united to realize "politics that do not put things off."

Regarding an assurance that the House of Representatives will be dissolved, which the LDP demanded Noda give, it was agreed during the meeting that the prime minister "will seek the people's mandate sometime soon" after the Diet passes the bills. Tanigaki said after the meeting, "'Sometime soon' is a heavy term."

It is an ambiguous expression and can be interpreted various ways, but the DPJ and LDP compromised at the last minute.


Specific timing difficult

The agreement is reasonable. The right to dissolve the lower house is solely in the hands of the prime minister and it is difficult to present specific timing in advance. Many within the DPJ oppose dissolving the lower house at an early date, so Noda was unable to be more specific regarding timing.

Tanigaki, meanwhile, laid down his arms at the last minute in keeping with the wishes of veteran LDP lawmakers who feel it would be irresponsible politics not to maintain the three-party agreement on the bills. Also, heart-to-heart talks with Noda seem to have encouraged Tanigaki to make the decision.

Both Noda and Tanigaki have, in their respective parties, groups opposing both integrated reform and their reelection as party leader. It is praiseworthy that Noda and Tanigaki affirmed they will carry out reform while their power bases are weakening.

Yamaguchi has called on the LDP to exercise self-restraint, consistently maintaining that motions such as a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet should not be submitted until the bills are enacted.

Yamaguchi also said the agreement between the three parties on Wednesday "gave due consideration to the possible impact at home and abroad, and proved that [the nation's] politics is functioning." Komeito showed its dignity as a party that was in power for years.


Motions likely to be defeated

As the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito agreed on the early passage of the integrated reform bills, a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet and a censure motion against Noda submitted by small and midsize parties, including People's Life First and the Japanese Communist Party, are expected to be voted down.

Noda expressed his appreciation to the LDP and Komeito, saying the decision by the two parties not to submit no-confidence and censure motions was weighty. The three parties should firmly maintain the unity they have reaffirmed.

The DPJ leadership should engage in serious self-reflection for having caused the recent turmoil. Although Noda vowed to stake his political life on passing the bills during the current Diet session, DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi and other party executives have cast a chill over his efforts.

Noda, though suffering from a low approval rating, is trying to realize the consumption tax hike and seek a mandate from the people. He should be faithful to his beliefs and not be daunted by interference from inside and outside the party.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 9, 2012)
(2012年8月9日01時28分  読売新聞)


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