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2012年10月30日 (火)

鹿児島3区補選 自民を後押しした政権不信

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 30, 2012)
Distrust in govt helped LDP win Kagoshima by-election
鹿児島3区補選 自民を後押しした政権不信(10月29日付・読売社説)

Victory in a House of Representatives by-election in Kagoshima Constituency No. 3 has given a boost to the opposition Liberal Democratic Party led by Shinzo Abe, which wants to regain the reins of power from the Democratic Party of Japan as soon as possible.

However, the LDP should not take too much pride in the election result. It should instead play a constructive role in the extraordinary Diet session to be convened Monday.

Kazuaki Miyaji, a former lower house member of the LDP, defeated Takeshi Noma, a first-time candidate of the People's New Party who was also backed by the DPJ, and the two other first-time candidates in Sunday's by-election to fill a lower house seat in Kagoshima Prefecture. The seat had been held by Tadahiro Matsushita, former state minister for postal reform and financial services, who died last month.

It was the first national election for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's administration. The by-election, a prelude to the next general election, was actually a joust between Miyaji and Noma.

With New Komeito also endorsing Miyaji, the LDP waged an all-out war against the DPJ, sending Abe and LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba to campaign for their candidate.

The constituency has serious economic and employment problems. A factory in the constituency, for example, is to close down. The LDP stressed it would help bring about an economic revival.


Good start for Abe

The LDP also considered the by-election an opportunity to question the three years of DPJ-led government and marked the first step in its march back to power. The by-election victory represents a good start for the new LDP leadership under Abe.

Meanwhile, Noma said he was a natural successor to Matsushita and his campaign stressed a generation change. The DPJ, which did not want the ruling coalition to lose even one Diet seat, established a campaign support system equivalent to that for a candidate on the DPJ ticket. Government ministers and leaders of the PNP and the DPJ stressed to voters that the ruling coalition parties would keep working for political reform.

Nonetheless, the support for Noma did not significantly increase, apparently due to public distrust in the Noda government. The resignation of Keishu Tanaka as justice minister following revelations that he received donations from a foreign national and had past ties with criminal organizations worked to Noma's disadvantage.

Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai nuclear power plant is located in the constituency.

Both candidates indicated they would approve reactivation of the plant's idled reactors on condition that the national government guarantees their safety. A Japanese Communist Party candidate stressed that all nuclear reactors in the country should be abolished now and forever, but his view did not resonate with the voters.


Voters want decisive politics

With the by-election defeat, more members of the ruling coalition parties are likely to raise their voices to demand a lower house dissolution be delayed as long as possible because they believe they will suffer a crushing defeat if a general election was held now.

However, we think the ruling coalition parties must not stagnate the nation's politics any longer by trying to extend the life of the current government unnecessarily.

The LDP intends to adopt a more confrontational approach toward the government and the ruling coalition parties, demanding dissolution of the lower house for a general election by the end of this year.

As for the extraordinary Diet session, the LDP and other opposition parties said they would not even allow the opening of the plenary session of the House of Councillors for the prime minister to deliver his policy speech. We think this is going too far.

Rather than a futile confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties, the voters want the kind of politics in which decisions can be made. The LDP should not misunderstand this.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 29, 2012)
(2012年10月29日01時53分  読売新聞)


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