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2012年11月20日 (火)

「第3極」 政策のあいまいさ放置するな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 20, 2012)
Ishin no Kai must clarify policies to vie with DPJ, LDP
「第3極」 政策のあいまいさ放置するな(11月19日付・読売社説)

If a new party aspires to become a third major force in national politics and take on the two main parties--the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party--it will need to present clear proposals for addressing this nation's challenges.

Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara's Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party) has decided to merge into Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto. The new party will be led by Ishihara, with Hashimoto as acting leader.

Hoping to capitalize on the high name recognition of both Ishihara and Hashimoto, Ishin no Kai is looking to fare well in the upcoming House of Representatives election, not only in proportional representation blocs but also in single-seat districts where large parties are seen as holding an advantage.

However, the two parties' merger was announced abruptly after Ishihara dropped an already announced plan to join forces with tax-slashing Genzei Nippon. The move thus smacks of a mutual-aid deal designed only to win the election.


Accord full of problems

The policy agreement put together by Ishin no Kai and Taiyo no To is fraught with problems.

On nuclear power generation--a central issue in the election--the accord merely mentioned a need to set rules on safety standards. This likely was the result of disagreement between Ishin no Kai, which supports ending the nation's reliance on nuclear power in the 2030s, and Taiyo no To, which has been critical of the zero nuclear option.

We agree with Ishihara's assertion that nuclear power policy needs to be discussed from a multifaceted viewpoint that takes economic and industrial factors into consideration. A zero nuclear policy is unrealistic at this point.

The proposal to make the consumption tax a local tax, a centerpiece of Ishin no Kai's platform, did make it into the agreement, although it was widely believed that Ishihara was less than enthusiastic about putting the consumption tax under local government control. If Ishihara has made an about-face, he needs to explain himself.

Concerning the Senkaku Islands, the accord called for urging China to make its case before the International Court of Justice. We question whether this position amounts to Japan admitting there exists a territorial dispute with China.

Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework, the accord "supports participation in the TPP negotiations but opposes entry if the talks show it is not in the national interest." This appears to be a blending of the pro-TPP stance of Ishin no Kai and the anti-TPP position of Taiyo no To.


A merger of convenience?

Other parties have denounced the tie-up as "a merger of convenience without policy." Hashimoto has refuted this. "We are much closer [on policy matters] than other conventional parties are," he said.

Even so, we worry that after the election, Ishin no Kai would be continually enveloped in chaos over internal policy differences, as has been the case with the DPJ.

Your Party has been lobbying to join forces with Ishin no Kai in next month's general election, also hoping to increase its national presence as a part of a third political pole. Furthermore, the People's Life First party is exploring ways to join hands with other parties by trumpeting its opposition to the planned consumption tax increase and its support of a zero nuclear policy.

These are moves intended to sway non-affiliated voters, who have increased due to a decline in people's trust in politics during the three-plus years of the DPJ-led administration.

We urge political parties to avoid promoting policies aimed only at pandering to the people, and to sufficiently scrutinize their platforms.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2012)
(2012年11月19日01時30分  読売新聞)


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