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2014年1月21日 (火)

自民党大会 政府と一体で経済を再生せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 20, 2014
LDP, govt must work closely together to ensure nation’s economic recovery
自民党大会 政府と一体で経済を再生せよ(1月20日付・読売社説)

“We have been successful in blowing away the thick, black clouds that were covering Japan,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in praise of Abenomics.

Yet at all costs the Abe administration must not relax its guard. The true value of Abenomics is yet to be tested.

The Liberal Democratic Party held its regular convention in Tokyo on Sunday. During the convention, Abe said emphatically, “It’s our responsibility to bring the economic recovery to the whole of Japan this year.”

Economic indicators have indeed shown signs of an economic upturn. Yet a hike in the consumption tax rate is scheduled for April. The LDP must support the government so the economy can overcome this hurdle without stalling again.

The negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free-trade accord, which holds the key to the fate of the Abe administration’s growth strategy, will also soon enter their final stage. The LDP is calling for maintaining tariffs on five key agricultural items, including rice, wheat and barley. Yet the important thing is to promote the nation’s interests to the maximum. The party must take a broad perspective in deciding what should be protected and what should be conceded.

The action plan the party adopted for this year clearly stated, “The government and ruling parties must make unified efforts in overcoming deflation and achieving economic recovery.” The action plan also says the party will work to persuade local governments hosting nuclear power plants to approve the restart of the plants. We hope the party will steadily proceed with these efforts.

The action plan also stated clearly that the party would proactively tackle constitutional revisions, including a plan to hold discussion meetings to gain public support of the party’s draft of the constitutional revisions.

Constitutional revision slow

Since the House of Councillors election in July, the move toward realizing the constitutional revision has been slow. The party should make further efforts.

Party Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, in reference to management of the party, appealed to party members to create an LDP that is “humble, polite, honest and kind [to the people],” by remembering the hard days when the party was in the opposition camp.

At an extraordinary Diet session last autumn, deliberations were thrown into turmoil over the bill to protect special state secrets, turning the session into a mudslinging match between the ruling and opposition parties. The turmoil has been partly due to the ruling parties’ high-handed management of Diet business. The LDP should not strut about because of its “force of numbers.”

It is also important for the LDP to build a consensus on each policy with opposition parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party.

New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, who attended the LDP’s convention as a guest, said his party “would like to meet the people’s expectations by pooling the distinctive qualities” of both Komeito and the LDP, indicating his intention of rallying the strength of the ruling coalition of the two parties.

Komeito has not relaxed its cautious stance over Abe’s conservative policies, as indicated, for instance, by his recent visit to Yasukuni Shrine. The LDP may also need to further take heed of its relations with Komeito.

A case in point, for example, is the issue of reviewing the government’s interpretation of the Constitution, which Abe plans to tackle from this spring. The review is expected to make it possible for the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

Yamaguchi once went so far as to say that his party would “firmly oppose this position.” Abe will need to lay the groundwork by thoroughly explaining to Komeito the significance and the necessity of changing the constitutional interpretation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 20, 2014)
(2014年1月20日01時29分  読売新聞)


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