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2013年5月24日 (金)

維新VSみんな 改憲論議が失速しては困る

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 24, 2013
Don't let feud between Ishin no Kai, Your Party affect Constitution debate
維新VSみんな 改憲論議が失速しては困る(5月23日付・読売社説)

The landscape of this summer’s House of Councillors election is changing.

Your Party recently decided to end its cooperation with Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) for the upper house election.

“As the two parties have differences in their fundamental values, we have no choice but to review our relationship [with Ishin no Kai] from scratch,” Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe said.

According to sources, Ishin no Kai coleader Toru Hashimoto’s recent remarks on so-called comfort women are the main reason behind Watanabe’s decision.

Both parties have pledged to amend the Constitution, and they have particularly led debate on revising Article 96, which stipulates the Diet can propose amendments to the basic law only when both chambers of the Diet approve the proposed revision by a two-thirds majority.

Thus a point of contention in the coming upper house election is whether the three advocates of constitutional amendments--Your Party, Ishin no Kai and the Liberal Democratic Party--can win a two-thirds majority in the chamber.

Feud likely to benefit DPJ

Therefore, it is disappointing to witness Your Party and Ishin no Kai feud with each other ahead of the election. We do not want to see discussions on revising the Constitution, which have been gaining momentum, lose steam because of the quarrel between the two parties.

Learning from December’s House of Representatives election, the two parties have been working on coordinating the number of candidates they run in some of the upper house constituencies. Now they are expected to again engage in do-or-die battles in the upper house election. The confrontation between Your Party and Ishin no Kai will likely benefit the Democratic Party of Japan in constituencies that have two or three seats up for grabs.

Watanabe and Hashimoto have experienced discord on issues such as how the two parties should cooperate. As the approval rating for Ishin no Kai is sliding, we assume that Watanabe thought now was a good time for his party to split with Ishin no Kai, to start campaigning for the upper house election in better conditions.

Hashimoto apologized for advising a senior U.S. military officer in Okinawa Prefecture that U.S. servicemen in Japan should use the country’s sex industry. “I lacked global perspective,” Hashimoto said.

However, Hashimoto said he has no intention of withdrawing his remarks on comfort women.

Some of Hashimoto’s remarks regarding the issue of sex and war could be based on historical facts. However, it is doubtful whether there was any benefit to his insisting that the comfort women system was necessary at that time in history.

We must say he is immature as a politician in being unable to assess how his remarks would affect the public and the international community.

In addition to the dignity of women, the comfort women issue should be discussed from various viewpoints.

One of the issues regarding comfort women is a 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, which was not based on any historical material. His remarks contained expressions indicating that Japanese administrative and military authorities forcibly recruited women as comfort women.

Effects of Kono statement

In 2007, the first Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a written answer to Diet questions on the comfort women issue at a Cabinet meeting. In it, the government said there were no descriptions in any documents the government found that directly pointed to forced recruitment of women by the military or government authorities. However, it was not enough to clear up the international community’s misunderstandings on the issue.

The U.S. House of Representatives and the European Parliament have passed resolutions condemning Japan on the comfort women issue, based on the false understanding that the Imperial Japanese Army forced women to be “sex slaves.”

It is regrettable that the international community is unwilling to accept Japan’s explanations despite its efforts, as Japan has been overwhelmed by the propaganda of South Korea and other countries.

The government, ruling and opposition parties need to deal with this harsh reality. A strategic approach is required.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 23, 2013)
(2013年5月23日01時14分  読売新聞)


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