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2012年11月13日 (火)

民主党政権公約 原発ゼロでは反省に値しない

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 13, 2012)
'Zero nuclear power policy' has no place in DPJ's manifesto
民主党政権公約 原発ゼロでは反省に値しない(11月11日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan at long last has uttered words of self-reflection over its manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election.

The party said, "We were arrogant to believe we could do everything if we came to power and immature as we didn't realize the severity of steering the government."

This humble stance marked an about-face from its past position. This change appears to reflect its concern over the uphill battle it faces in the next lower house election.

The party held meetings in Osaka and Fukuoka on Saturday to report on its self-examination of the manifesto. "While reflecting on it, we want to put together a more realistic manifesto that can be carried out as promised," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said.

The party plans to hold similar meetings in nine other locations across the country until Sunday.

The items listed in the party's campaign platform for the 2009 general election were nothing short of slapdash. They included a handout of child-rearing allowances, abolition of the temporary gasoline tax rate, making highways toll-free and securing 16.8 trillion yen in fiscal resources by eliminating wasteful spending. The party had insisted on steadily realizing the manifesto pledges, rather than examine them for shortcomings.


Change comes too late

With the dissolution of the lower house for a general election close at hand, the party decided to make a fresh start after reflecting on the manifesto. But it comes too late. Its self-reflection meetings across the country may be considered an election campaign in the guise of an "apology tour."

Of concern is whether the DPJ can make the most of its experience as a ruling party in formulating a manifesto for the forthcoming election.

Noda told reporters accompanying him on his inspection tour of Fukuoka on Saturday the party is considering the inclusion of an official bid to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework in the new manifesto.

Participation in the TPP is indispensable for Japan if this country hopes to open up future prospects through free trade. We think the party should clearly mention in the manifesto that Japan will officially apply to join the TPP negotiations.

Seiji Maehara, state minister for national policy, said he favored Japan's entry in the TPP and it "should be made a major DPJ campaign pledge" in the forthcoming election. TPP entry will become a bone of contention in its election campaign against the Liberal Democratic Party, which takes a cautious view on the subject.


Break with previous mind-set

The DPJ, however, has yet to break with the mind-set it had as an opposition party when it comes to energy policy.

The party said its manifesto would incorporate a policy to end reliance on nuclear power generation in the 2030s. How will the party secure alternate energy if it does this? No solutions have been offered in regard to such pending issues as increases in utility rates caused by the zero nuclear policy, continuing industrial hollowing-out and the brain drain of nuclear engineers heading overseas.

If the DPJ only continues to emphasize the zero nuclear policy, its irresponsibility will be similar to that seen in the previous manifesto. Its policy, it can be said, is unrealistic compared with that of the LDP, which calls for utilizing nuclear energy for the time being.

Regardless of the results of the next lower house election, a divided Diet will continue until next summer when a House of Councillors election is scheduled. No party will be able to realize its policy goals without the cooperation of other parties. It will be meaningless to make campaign pledges on the numerical targets of policies and timetables for their implementation without considering cooperation with other parties.

The parties should compile manifestos with realistic points of contention.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 11, 2012)
(2012年11月11日01時19分  読売新聞)


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