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2012年9月25日 (火)

輿石幹事長再任 「近いうち」の真意が問われる

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 25, 2012)
Koshiishi reappointment casts doubt on DPJ election promise
輿石幹事長再任 「近いうち」の真意が問われる(9月24日付・読売社説)

We wonder if it was such an inward-looking reappointment.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who was reelected Friday as president of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, requested DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi to remain in the party's No. 2 post. Koshiishi accepted the reappointment.

The appointment of the secretary general sends a message from the prime minister suggesting a new direction of his administration.

It had been expected that Koshiishi would be replaced to take responsibility for causing the breakup in the DPJ. It is also noteworthy that Koshiishi's policy views are different from the prime minister's, though the secretary general plays an important role in taking care of matters related to national elections and Diet management.

However, Noda apparently considered it appropriate to reappoint Koshiishi as secretary general, who was given the post last autumn as a symbol of intraparty unity, because some DPJ lawmakers, who voted against Noda in the latest DPJ presidential election, are making moves to leave the party.

If about 10 members of the House of Representatives leave the party, the DPJ and its coalition partner, the People's New Party, will be reduced to ruling minorities in the Diet. That will make it nearly impossible for them to manage the government.


Forward vision necessary

If that is the reason, however, the reappointment is far from a "political culture of responsibility" that was pointed out as a necessity for the DPJ during its presidential race.

In addition, we cannot overlook that Koshiishi has maintained a backward-looking stance on a variety of issues during the last ordinary Diet session. These include the integrated reform of the tax and social security systems and the rectification of vote-value disparity in lower house elections. Koshiishi placed too much priority on avoiding a split of the party.

Also, Koshiishi openly made remarks playing down an agreement among leaders of the DPJ, the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to dissolve the lower house and hold a general election "sometime soon."

"We don't have to stick to 'sometime soon,'" Koshiishi said, inviting strong criticism from the LDP and Komeito.

He has been advocating that the lower house election and the House of Councillors election should be held on the same day next summer. A majority of DPJ members believe the lower house election should be deferred because it is expected to be an uphill battle for the DPJ. We are afraid that the agreement to hold an election poll "sometime soon" will be ignored.


Opposition parties offended

A ranking official of the LDP reacted sharply against Koshiishi's reappointment. "I was so furious with the reappointment. It dumbfounded me," he said.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi warned, "The DPJ will end up digging its own grave if it overzealously attempts to avoid dissolution of the lower house."

The DPJ should realize the ruling party has a primary responsibility to move politics forward, even though the Diet is divided with one of the two chambers under opposition control.

If it makes light of the tripartite cooperation for the sake of the intraparty appeasement, the DPJ will not be able to win the collaboration of the opposition parties in the Diet, allowing the "politics incapable of making decisions" continue.

There is no time to waste in the extraordinary Diet session scheduled in autumn to pass bills to allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds and to rectify the "unconstitutional state" of disparity in the value of votes in lower house elections.

Noda must not only confirm the tripartite agreement on the integrated reform of the tax and social security systems but also set the basic direction of important policy issues at talks with a new LDP president to be elected Wednesday.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 24, 2012)
(2012年9月24日01時20分  読売新聞)


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