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2013年2月26日 (火)

民主党大会 新綱領で一致団結できるか

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 26, 2013)
Can DPJ unify itself with new party platform?
民主党大会 新綱領で一致団結できるか(2月25日付・読売社説)

The Democratic Party of Japan has an opportunity to reinvent itself after approaching the brink of catastrophe. The party held its regular convention Sunday and adopted a platform stipulating its basic philosophy and goals. It also issued a report summing up its management of the government and the major defeat the party suffered in the latest House of Representatives election.

In his address to the convention, DPJ President Banri Kaieda called for solidarity, saying, "Let's unite under a new party platform."

The platform stipulates that the DPJ is a reform party whose aim is to fight vested interests and collusion for the benefit of ordinary citizens, taxpayers, consumers and workers.

When the party was inaugurated in 1998, it produced a paper titled "Our basic philosophy." This time, it created a formal "platform," although belatedly.

The platform avoided using such ideological language as "middle-of-the-road democracy" or "liberal," in light of objections from conservative members of the party.


A party divided

It cannot be denied that the party remains "a congeries of many households" and "mutual election support groups" whereby Diet members from such ideologically different parties as the Liberal Democratic Party and the Japan Socialist Party gathered under the slogan "anti-LDP."

Standing out in the platform are abstract key phrases such as "symbiotic society" and "the new public." But its axis of confrontation with the LDP is hardly clear.

With regards to the Constitution, in particular, the party remains unclear as to its future course. The platform includes the opinions of members who support the current Constitution and those who want to amend it. The platform says the party "will realize the fundamental spirit of the Constitution" and "will form a future-oriented Constitution."

As before, the party has merely put off the problem in the sake of harmony at least for now.

In its course of action for fiscal 2013, the party has portrayed the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election and the House of Councillors election, scheduled for this summer, as "critical political battles with the party's fate at stake." The party's understanding is reasonable. It faces a crucial moment that may determine whether it can continue playing a part in the two-party system.


Conditions worse than before

The current environment surrounding the DPJ is even harsher than before.

On Friday, two upper house members whose seats were up for election submitted letters of resignation from the party. They may have concluded they would not get enough votes if they stayed in a party that voters no longer trust.

In the city assembly election of Kitakyushu held late last month, the DPJ placed fourth in the number of seats won, following the LDP, New Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party.

Over Diet affairs, the so-called united front of opposition parties is in disarray, with the DPJ opposing a supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) supporting it.

In the party convention, senior members of both Ishin no Kai and Your Party, who had left the DPJ, made guest speeches, criticizing the DPJ for such failings as its dependence on labor unions.

With the upper house election ahead, DPJ campaign cooperation with other opposition parties such as Ishin no Kai and Your Party will become an issue of great importance, but differences over key policies have hampered progress.

If the DPJ pursues cooperation with Ishin no Kai and Your Party, it will have to to take more realistic approaches on key policy issues such as the Constitution, diplomacy and national security.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 25, 2013)
(2013年2月25日01時19分  読売新聞)


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