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2012年9月30日 (日)

民・自の新体制 「停滞国会」をもう繰り返すな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 30, 2012)
New leaders of 2 major parties must not allow Diet to stall again
民・自の新体制 「停滞国会」をもう繰り返すな(9月29日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party have launched new leadership teams, but the presidential elections of the ruling and largest opposition party have left some emotional divisions among members.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, reelected as DPJ leader, and new LDP President Shinzo Abe will need to put all of their efforts into consolidating support in their respective parties.

We hope the parties will also work to end the futile confrontations between the ruling and opposition camps, and turn the Diet into a place capable of making decisions.

The DPJ formally approved its new executive team Friday at a meeting of party lawmakers from both chambers of the Diet. DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi kept his post, while Environment Minister Goshi Hosono was tapped to lead the party's Policy Research Committee and Kazunori Yamanoi was given the chair of the Diet Affairs Committee.

Expectations are high for Hosono--whose task as policy chief will be to work out the party's election platform--to play a central role in the next House of Representatives election.

With the ruling party expected to face an uphill battle in the election, more DPJ lawmakers appear to be looking to break away from the party, such as by joining a certain newly formed party. The most pressing task for the new DPJ leadership is to quell these revolts.


Mutual trust is essential

However, the DPJ executives should not engage in too much naval-gazing by focusing only on party unity. To break the current political stalemate, the ruling and opposition parties must build a trusting relationship.

During the ordinary Diet session that ended in early September, the DPJ took primitive action over key legislation to reform the lower house electoral system, ramming its bill through the the lower house. Under its new leadership, we hope the DPJ will review how it handles Diet affairs.

The LDP also approved its new leadership lineup Friday. Former LDP policy chief Shigeru Ishiba was appointed secretary general, while former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari was named chairman of the Policy Research Council. Yasukazu Hamada was promoted from acting chairman to head of the Diet Affairs Committee.

Ishiba won the first round of the LDP presidential election comfortably through support from a majority of local chapters, but lost to Abe in the runoff, in which only party lawmakers could vote. Senior chapter officials voiced frustration with the results, and Ishiba was handed the party's No. 2 post in an apparent effort to placate them.

Relations between Japan and China have deteriorated recently, so it is also possible that Abe appointed Ishiba, considered an expert in security issues, to boost the party's chances in the next lower house election.

With five candidates having vied to lead the LDP, the election has left some rifts in the party and ill feelings have developed between some members. Abe will need to work to unify his party, but the prevalence of recent supporters, old-time allies and aides in his executive lineup is a worrisome sign.


Confirm 3-party alliance

We hope the executives of both major parties will reconfirm the three-party alliance by holding a meeting of the leaders of the DPJ, LDP and New Komeito, and begin preparations for an extraordinary Diet session. The alliance will be tested over a bill to allow issuance of deficit-covering bonds.

During the campaign for LDP president, Ishiba said he would not set the dissolution of the lower house as a condition for the LDP's cooperation in the passage of key bills. He also ruled out the possibility of boycotting Diet deliberations, even though a censure motion was passed at the House of Councillors. We will view it as praiseworthy if the LDP adopts these ideas.

Abe, however, has called on Noda to dissolve the lower house this year, while Ishiba said he would not stick to demanding dissolution at an early date. Abe and Ishiba differ strategically on other issues as well. How they coordinate their positions will likely affect the future course of this nation's politics.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 29, 2012)
(2012年9月29日01時32分  読売新聞)


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