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2014年10月 2日 (木)

衆院代表質問 民主党は対案示して論争せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
DPJ should offer own proposals, lock horns with govt responsibly
衆院代表質問 民主党は対案示して論争せよ

Merely criticizing the government in the Diet will do little to give depth to parliamentary discussions.

To fulfill its duty as the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan should present counterproposals that could be an alternative to important government policies.

On Tuesday, representatives from the ruling and opposition parties started questioning Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over his key policy speech at the House of Representatives.

DPJ President Banri Kaieda criticized the prime minister’s Abenomics economic policy as “an approach aimed at placing priority on helping business corporations gain profits.” The DPJ leader also expressed a negative opinion about the government’s desire to lower the corporate tax rate, citing the need to secure a massive amount of revenue to offset the reduction.

The prime minister refuted Kaieda’s argument by saying that his Abenomics policy is “starting to produce a virtuous economic cycle.” With the recent rise in prices, Abe also emphasized his determination to “create a situation in which wages will increase every year.”

Ending deflation requires a virtuous economic circle where an increase in corporate earnings will help raise wages and create more jobs, thereby boosting consumption and, consequently, improving the economy. It should also be noted that a reduction in the corporation tax is helpful in bolstering the international competitiveness of our nation’s corporate sector.

It is essential to make progress in the economic management of Abenomics, a task that needs to be complemented by paying careful attention to its potentially adverse effects, including a widening disparity in income levels.

In May, the DPJ put together an economic policy package aimed mainly at reviving the middle-class segment of the population and regional economies. However, Kaieda did not discuss the details of his party’s policy package.

The DPJ leader also referred to an envisaged increase in the consumption tax rate to 10 percent, arguing that measures should be taken to improve the quality of social security systems when the tax is raised. In reply, the prime minister revealed his intention to finance new social security policies with 20 percent of the revenue increase to be accrued from the tax rate hike.

Security plans blasted

By the end of the year, the prime minister is scheduled to decide whether to increase the tax rate to 10 percent after considering the economic situation and other factors from a comprehensive perspective. His decision will be significant in that it is bound to greatly affect the economy and the progress in fiscal reconstruction. Given this, legislators should debate pertinent issues from various points of view.

The themes addressed by Kaieda at Tuesday’s Diet session included a government plan to create and revise laws for national security that would permit this country to exercise its right of collective self-defense. He told the lower house that “the dispute [over the government’s new stance on the right] is being set aside without offering any necessary explanations to the public.” His condemnation targeted a government intention not to submit security legislation to the current Diet session and, instead, present them at next year’s ordinary session.

The blame for “postponement,” however, should fall on the DPJ. The opposition party is still unable to form an intraparty consensus about the pros and cons of the latest government decision on the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense. The DPJ should hold internal discussions on the issue as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Ishin no To (Restoration Party) coleader Kenji Eda told the Diet that the consumption tax rate hike could serve as “a decisive trigger for a failure resulting from Abenomics.” He also said the Abe administration is “entirely inadequate” in trying to curtail wasteful government spending.

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), the predecessor to Ishin no Kai, had been poised to support the Abe administration if any government policies could be deemed commendable, while opposing the government if any of its policies were unacceptable. This is in contrast to the stance adopted by Ishin no To toward the government. The party is increasingly confrontational against the Abe administration.

If Ishin no To changes its position as an opposition party that thinks and acts responsibly, the party should remain committed to dealing with controversial policy issues in a constructive manner.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 1, 2014)Speech


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