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2012年12月20日 (木)

自公連立協議 現実的な原発政策を掲げよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 20, 2012)
LDP, Komeito need to present realistic nuclear power policy
自公連立協議 現実的な原発政策を掲げよ(12月19日付・読売社説)

If the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito are to form a coalition government, it is a matter of course that they will have to make adjustments on important policies as much as possible to prevent discord within the cabinet.

LDP President Shinzo Abe and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi met Tuesday to launch a series of policy consultations ahead of the inauguration of the second Abe Cabinet next week.

To begin with, they agreed to compile a large supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 to serve as temporary economic stimulus.

LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Akira Amari and Komeito Policy Research Council Chairman Keiichi Ishii are expected to hammer out the details for the budget ahead of an official accord by the end of the week.


Economy a proper priority

The country desperately needs to be lifted out of deflation. The incoming administration is right in its decision to give top priority to economic reconstruction as a symbol of its efforts to move politics forward.

Komeito supports a supplementary budget to the tune of about 10 trillion yen, while the LDP has yet to be specific.

Since at least part of any supplementary budget has to rely on the issuance of additional government bonds, it is important to avoid simple handout policies and choose spending that will have a highly positive economic effect.

Adjustments to energy policy will be another focus of attention during the policy talks between the two parties. While the LDP pledged to "establish the best possible combination of power generation sources within 10 years," Komeito advocates "aiming to reduce the number of nuclear power plants to zero as soon as possible."

However, Komeito also acknowledges the need to give consideration to possible negative effects on the economy and employment, as well as to the securing of nuclear power engineers.

Imports of fuel for the nation's thermal power plants, which are being used as alternative power sources to nuclear power plants, have continued to surge, with 3 trillion yen of national wealth currently flowing overseas per year.

Zero nuclear power would accelerate the hollowing-out of the domestic industrial sector, which we see as contradicting the economic measures Komeito places importance on.


Reactivation a must

We urge both the LDP and Komeito to craft a realistic policy that includes reactivating the nation's nuclear reactors once they are confirmed safe and rejecting the idea of zero nuclear power in the mid- and long term.

The LDP and Komeito also differ over amending the Constitution, but the two parties will unlikely go deeply into the issue during the policy talks this time around, due to its "low priority." This is an inevitable judgment given the limited amount of time before the new administration takes power.

The LDP insists the government's interpretation of the Constitution should be revised so the country can exercise its right to collective self-defense. This would deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance, and is something we believe should be realized.

Komeito has consistently opposed such a move. However, Japan would only be required to exercise its right to collective self-defense in a limited number of situations, such as if a U.S. military vessel was attacked by a foreign country on the high seas or if a ballistic missile headed for the United States passed over Japan.

When should exercising the right to collective self-defense be allowed, and how should it be restricted? We believe it is possible for the two parties to find common ground if they engage in deep, reality-based discussions. We hope they, as ruling parties, will continue to discuss this matter after the new administration is launched.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 19, 2012)
(2012年12月19日01時12分  読売新聞)


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