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2014年8月 3日 (日)

第3極勢力 現実的な政策で存在感を示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
‘3rd-pole’ political force must present realistic policies to become meaningful
第3極勢力 現実的な政策で存在感を示せ

Small opposition parties, aiming to become a “third-pole” political force, should try to realize their policies by establishing free and unbiased relationships with the government.

House of Representatives member Shintaro Ishihara and other lawmakers who split from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), have established the Party for Future Generations. Takeo Hiranuma, a veteran lower house member, has taken the helm of the new party, which comprises 19 lower house members and three House of Councillors members.

Establishment of an independently written constitution, which is one of Ishihara’s pet goals, has been listed as the top priority in the party platform. The enactment in June of the revised National Referendum Law has prepared a legal environment for holding a national referendum on constitutional revision.

It is hoped that the Party for Future Generations will lead debate on constitutional revision.

Asked about how his party would deal with the Abe administration, Hiranuma told reporters that it “will pursue a free and unbiased stance.”

The Party for Future Generations endorses the government’s change in its interpretation of the Constitution to approve a limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense. The party takes the stand that legal arrangements should be made to deal with “gray-zone” situations falling short of armed attacks.

As for nuclear policies, the party has set forth a policy of “maintaining the world’s most advanced nuclear technologies.” The party said it will also seek to end reliance on nuclear power generation by diversifying sources of electricity.

The party’s stances on national security and nuclear policies correspond to those of the government and ruling parties in large part. To accomplish its policy targets, it is essential for the party to actively cooperate with the Liberal Democratic Party and other parties.

The group led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, which has also split from Ishin no Kai, is aiming to merge with Yui no To. The group will shortly establish a council to prepare for establishment of a new party with its inauguration said to be scheduled for early September.

Reconcile differences

The crucial thing is to definitely reconcile fundamental visions and policies.

Ishin no Kai, then led by Hashimoto, neglected efforts to reconcile nuclear and energy policies with the now defunct Sunrise Party, which was established by Ishihara and others, as it hurried to achieve a merger of the two parties before the 2012 lower house election. This is one factor behind the division of Ishin no Kai into two groups now and should be a matter for reflection.

Hashimoto is willing to approve the exercise of the right of collective self-defense, but Kenji Eda, leader of Yui no To, takes a cautious view of the issue. It is necessary for the two leaders to present an unambiguous unified view on the matter. It is indispensable to decide on ways of cooperation and division of roles between the Osaka-based group led by Hashimoto and the group of lawmakers based in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Your Party has been losing strength. This is due to a money scandal involving former party head Yoshimi Watanabe, who allegedly received a huge amount of questionable loans.

Keiichiro Asao, the current head of Your Party, will be required to make his political presence felt on such policy matters as national security and regulatory reform.

In a political landscape dominated by the powerful LDP, opposition parties cannot attract much attention. The third-pole parties should not forget their obligation as “responsible opposition parties” to cooperate with the Abe administration if they agree on government policies, without repeated alliances and ruptures among them.

Such an approach will make it possible for them to differentiate themselves from the Democratic Party of Japan, the major opposition party, that tends to stick to criticizing the government.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 2, 2014)


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