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2012年10月17日 (水)

3党幹事長会談 いつまで条件闘争をするのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 17, 2012)
When will 3 parties stop squabbling over Diet session?
3党幹事長会談 いつまで条件闘争をするのか(10月16日付・読売社説)

Talks between the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito over the next extraordinary Diet session are a mess.

How long will they continue to put their party interests before everything else?

DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said he wanted to convene an extraordinary Diet session late this month when he held talks Monday with his LDP counterpart Shigeru Ishiba and Komeito counterpart Yoshihisa Inoue. The secretaries general will meet again Thursday, and a meeting between the leaders of the three parties will likely be held by the end of this week.

Such a sluggish approach to the talks is appalling. In particular, the DPJ has a heavy responsibility for delaying the convening of an extraordinary Diet session. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda should announce the policies of his reshuffled Cabinet at this session.

A mountain of problems, including the confrontation between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, and energy issues, await action. Lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties are failing to fulfill their responsibilities by not debating these issues in the Diet.

The qualifications of Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka also must be taken up. It was recently revealed that the justice minister, who is at the center of a scandal over donations from a foreign national, had ties with an organized crime syndicate. There is no doubt these entanglements are inappropriate for a justice minister.


Resolve vote disparity

One issue the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito should immediately resolve is the vote-value disparity in House of Representatives elections.

On an NHK program Sunday, Koshiishi hinted at the possibility the DPJ may accept a plan to first reduce the number of lower house single-seat constituencies by five. However, he also told reporters that "unanimity among all opposition parties" is a condition to carrying out the plan.

The DPJ's adherence to its plan to simultaneously correct the vote-value disparity by cutting the number of lower house single-seat constituencies by five and reduce the number of lower house seats complicates the issue and has delayed correcting the vote-value disparity. If the DPJ sets this new condition now, we cannot help but wonder if the party is serious about tackling the issue.

Enactment of a bill to allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds is also a pressing issue.

During the meeting of secretaries general Monday, the LDP and Komeito demanded that Noda promise to dissolve the lower house for a general election by the end of this year. "If [the prime minister] is so insincere, there will be no meeting of leaders [of the three parties]," Ishiba was quoted as saying.


Financial resources at risk

If the current stalemate continues, the passage of the bill to issue deficit-covering government bonds will be delayed and, as a result, the government's financial resources in the fiscal 2012 budget will be exhausted. The DPJ, LDP and Komeito should quickly reach a compromise on the issue so people's livelihoods will not be adversely affected.

The LDP has called for a delay in the establishment of a national council to revamp the social security system--which the three parties already have agreed on--until after the lower house election. We urge the three parties to come to terms on this issue.

The opposition-controlled House of Councillors passed a censure motion against the prime minister during the last ordinary Diet session. If the opposition parties plan to stall the Diet session for this reason, there is no point in convening an extraordinary Diet session. This will only increase public distrust in political parties.

The ruling and opposition parties should agree not to carry over the censure motion into the next Diet session and make it a general rule of the divided Diet not to do this in future.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 16, 2012)
(2012年10月16日01時29分  読売新聞)


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