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2013年7月25日 (木)

海江田民主党 政策と体質を改革して出直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 25, 2013
DPJ must start over again, reform its policies, character
海江田民主党 政策と体質を改革して出直せ(7月24日付・読売社説)

An extremely tough road lies ahead for the Democratic Party of Japan to revive itself.
It has no choice but to start over again, by refining its policies and drastically reforming its character.

DPJ Secretary General Goshi Hosono offered to resign from his post to take responsibility for the party’s humiliating defeat in Sunday’s House of Councillors election, and his resignation was ultimately accepted. Hosono will step down in late August after setting a course for the reconstruction of the party.

DPJ President Banri Kaieda announced that he will stay in his post, and no objection has been raised from party leadership.

Isn’t Kaieda’s sense of crisis over the party’s current situation too weak? The party’s character, in which its leader does not take responsibility for failure, has again been revealed. It is questionable whether it is possible for the DPJ to rebuild itself under Kaieda, whose leadership and communication skills are poor.

Party’s decline clear

The DPJ won just 17 of the 44 upper house seats it held before the poll and that were contested in Sunday’s election. Sunday’s results were far below its previous record low of 26 in 2001. The party was defeated in all constituencies with one seat up for reelection and lost its seats in Tokyo, Osaka and Saitama constituencies where multiple seats were up for grabs. The DPJ’s steep decline is evident.

According to Yomiuri Shimbun exit polls, the DPJ was fifth in the number of swing votes captured by political parties in the proportional representation segment of the election. Before it came the Liberal Democratic Party, Your Party, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and the Japanese Communist Party.

The DPJ simply criticized the negative side effects of Abenomics, the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, and was unable to present its own growth strategy and economic policy. It was also unable to strengthen local chapters or cooperate with other opposition parties in election campaigns. All these adversely affected its election results.

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama recently said it was unavoidable for China to think that Japan had stolen the Senkaku Islands. Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan supported an independent candidate who lost her status as the official DPJ candidate, and the DPJ’s official candidate lost. Kan’s behavior symbolizes the party’s political culture, in which members do not abide by the party’s decisions.

Even after the DPJ became an opposition party, its founders caused problems. It is only natural that DPJ executives called for the two former prime ministers to be punished at their meeting on Tuesday.

The DPJ will never be able to make progress in its reform if it cannot decide on strict punishment against them.

Lessons not learned

In February, the DPJ finalized documents that summed up its handling of the government while it was in power and its crushing defeat in last year’s House of Representatives election. The documents pointed out that the party’s governing abilities were immature and the abilities of each lawmaker were not utilized as a team. However, this self-examination was not reflected in the management of the party.

Reviewing its policies is also an urgent task for the DPJ.

The DPJ’s campaign pledges for the upper house election lacked specifics and were abstract on many points.

Without stipulating where the money would come from, the DPJ touted the establishment of a guaranteed minimum pension system that would be funded solely by taxpayers. We believe the party should change it to a plan that is convincing and feasible.

On constitutional amendment issues, the party only used ambiguous expressions in consideration of people in the party who support top law revision and others who are cautious or oppose it. The DPJ needs to come up with its own proposal for revision after thorough discussions on the issue within the party.

The DPJ’s role as the largest opposition party is to keep a stern eye on the big ruling parties and present constructive counterproposals, thereby keeping everyone in national politics on their toes.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 24, 2013)
(2013年7月24日01時22分  読売新聞)


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