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2012年11月24日 (土)

自民党政権公約 国論二分の政策でも方向示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 24, 2012)
Now is the time for the LDP to take courageous policy stands
自民党政権公約 国論二分の政策でも方向示せ(11月23日付・読売社説)

What lessons has the Liberal Democratic Party drawn from the past administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 to September 2007, and its three years of being an opposition party?

Titled "We'll restore Japan," the LDP's platform for the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election includes a number of conservative policies reflecting the political leanings of Abe, who is once again the party's head.

One key pledge involves creating a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council, which was a primary, though eventually unrealized, goal of Abe's past administration.

The country's national security environment has become increasingly severe in the face of China's rapid military buildup and North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Some mechanism to allow the country to cope rapidly with emergencies by blueprinting a comprehensive set of strategies is urgently needed.

We see the proposal to create something like the NSC to serve as a control tower for coordinating diplomatic and security policy, which should be crafted so the Prime Minister's Office plays a central role, as entirely reasonable.


Bold stand on security, education

We also support the LDP platform's calls for creating a "Basic Law on State Security" that would enable the nation to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

This is a long-standing problem, and resolving it would do much to bolster Japan's alliance with the United States, which was marred by the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

The LDP election platform also presents an education policy representative of Abe's political principles.

The platform argues, "Due to the strong influence of Nikkyoso (the Japan Teachers' Union) on the Democratic Party of Japan, the DPJ will never be able to address the challenge of truly restoring the nation's education system."

In terms of specific measures, the platform calls for changing the textbook authorization system to conform with the Fundamental Law of Education, which stipulates the principle of "love of country and community." It also calls for reviewing the board of education system.
The education platform proposed by the LDP is sure to become one of the focal points of the election.

To stimulate the economy, the LDP platform advocates a basic law to "make Japan's territory resilient" to disasters, which would consist of a hefty package of antidisaster programs.

The DPJ has strongly criticized the LDP's proposed objectives, calling them "typical of the old style of pork-barrel public works projects."
The LDP needs to respond to the DPJ's criticisms by clarifying its proposals, especially about how to balance public works projects with the need for fiscal discipline.


Still muddy on nuclear power

Regarding the nation's idled nuclear power plants, the LDP platform calls for making judgments step by step, with the goal of solving the issue within three years.

The party needs to explain in detail how bringing nuclear plants back online is indispensable to preventing hikes in electricity rates and ensuring a stable power supply.

The LDP's platform punted on the future make-up of the country's energy supply, only saying the party would "establish the best mix of electricity sources." Obviously, a more clear-cut path toward utilizing nuclear power is needed.

Further, the platform's references to negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade pact are hardly sufficient.

Although Abe has stated that Japan's participation in the TPP talks "should be a matter of course if the national interests can be safeguarded," the party has backpedaled to its initial position of "opposing [the TPP] as long as negotiations are premised on the elimination of all tariffs without exception."

How long will the LDP believe it is acceptable to retain this irresponsible attitude as an opposition party over this issue? The party needs to move in a new direction that promotes participating in the TPP negotiations.

The LDP must have the courage to present clear, unequivocal policies, even if they carry the risk of splitting public opinion.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 23, 2012)
(2012年11月23日01時49分  読売新聞)


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