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2013年3月 6日 (水)

代表質問 安倍政権を攻めあぐねる野党

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 6, 2013)
Opposition parties toothless when grilling Abe administration
代表質問 安倍政権を攻めあぐねる野党(3月5日付・読売社説)

The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remains high, and opposition parties have yet to clarify their stances on key policy issues. Under the circumstances, the opposition bloc has struggled to launch an effective offensive against the Abe government.

Interpellations by party representatives on the prime minister's recent policy speech have begun in the Diet.

Democratic Party of Japan Acting President Akihiro Ohata questioned the consistency between the government's position on the nation's possible participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks and the Liberal Democratic Party's pledges for the last House of Representatives election. The LDP pledged it would oppose TPP participation as long as it was premised on the elimination of all tariffs without exception.

Ohata upbraided these "Abe tricks" as a deception of the public because the condition set in the LDP pledges has yet to be met, as whether some trade items are exempt from tariff elimination will be decided in the negotiations.


Clearer explanations needed

It is true that Japan has not been assured there will be exceptions. But it is unproductive to debate whether entering the TPP talks goes against the policy pledge at this stage. The DPJ question missed the point, and was raised apparently because the party has not clarified its stance on the issue.

The prime minister responded rather tersely. He briefly explained about his recent meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, and merely said, "I've come to believe that the TPP won't be premised on the elimination of all tariffs without exception."

Abe needs to explain to the public in a simpler-to-understand way that, for Japan as a trading nation, participation in the TPP would be a pillar in its growth strategy. After doing so, he should aim to soon join the process of crafting rules on free trade and make sure rice and certain other items are excluded from tariff elimination.

Referring to the government's appointment of the next Bank of Japan governor, Takao Fujii, chairman of the general council of Diet members of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), said it is desirable to have someone who supports revising the Bank of Japan Law to strengthen government involvement in monetary policy.

Abe said he also has revision of the law in mind, but expressed high hopes for now that Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda, the government's pick to be the central bank chief, will take bold monetary easing measures.


Get electoral reform moving

Internal rifts have surfaced within Ishin no Kai. Party coleader Toru Hashimoto is negative toward Kuroda's appointment, but some party lawmakers are leaning toward accepting his nomination. Ishin no Kai officials have said they will decide after hearing opinions given by Kuroda in the Diet. But Fujii's questioning lacked force mainly because his party has yet to settle on a position on the issue.

During a hearing at the House of Representatives Rules and Administration Committee on Monday, Kuroda expressed determination to do whatever he could for the nation to overcome deflation. We consider this a reasonable stance toward revitalization of the Japanese economy.

The prime minister said he had told his party to "actively work on compiling plans" for lower house election system reform, including a change in the number of seats in the chamber. The LDP, New Komeito and the DPJ have already agreed to proceed with this change.

Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Abe's predecessor, made realization of electoral system reform a precondition for dissolving the lower house last year. Abe agreed that a conclusion should be reached during the current Diet session. Talks between ruling and opposition parties on this issue must be accelerated.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 5, 2013)
(2013年3月5日01時29分  読売新聞)


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« 米国歳出削減 大統領と議会は混乱収拾急げ | トップページ | 6年ぶりにHPを改定 2013-03-06 »