野田民主新代表 世代交代で再生への歯車回せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 31, 2011)
DPJ must revive itself through generation change
野田民主新代表 世代交代で再生への歯車回せ(8月30日付・読売社説)


The Democratic Party of Japan-led administration has for the first time a leader with a steadfast political style and well-grounded policies.

In the DPJ’s presidential election Monday, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda defeated Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda in a runoff.

It was a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Noda, who picked up the support of groups whose candidates finished second or lower in the first round of voting.

Noda will be named head of the nation’s 95th cabinet Tuesday.

After serving as a member of the Chiba Prefectural Assembly, Noda was elected to the House of Representatives. He has since been elected to the lower house four more times.
Noda, 54, will be the first prime minister who graduated from the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management.


The DPJ-led administration has been blighted by a string of administrative failures and unproductive infighting that has disappointed the public.
Many people have lost confidence in the party.

The new administration must break free from the “troika” era led by former party leader Ichiro Ozawa, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Prime Minister Naoto Kan.


Interparty cooperation crucial

In a speech before the runoff vote, Noda expressed support for an accord among the DPJ and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito on certain key policy issues. “Will the Diet be able to go forward if we ignore the three-party agreement?” he said. “Won’t a new administration grind to a standstill [if we ignore it]?”

This was a swipe at Kaieda, who had earlier hinted at rescinding the deal, which was made on the assumption that the DPJ manifesto for the 2009 general election will be drastically reviewed.

To realize important policies in the divided Diet–in which the House of Councillors is controlled by the opposition camp–the DPJ needs to cooperate with opposition parties.

It is quite reasonable that Noda emphasized the need to stick to the three-party accord during debates held ahead of the presidential election.

Noda advocated that present generations should share the cost of providing revenue sources to fund post-disaster reconstruction efforts, rather than passing this burden to future generations.

By saying so, he clearly called for an ad-hoc tax increase, which other candidates were unwilling to do.

We think this also is a realistic position.

To secure enough revenue through tax increases, consideration should be given to not only hikes in income and corporate tax, but also in the consumption tax rate.

Noda’s ability will be tested over how to overcome strong opposition to tax increases within his party, and to raise taxes through talks between the ruling and opposition parties.


Black eye for Ozawa, Hatoyama

Noda also said integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, which has a gradual increase in the consumption tax rate as its central pillar, should not be put off any further.

The bottom line is that Noda’s arguments won greater support within the party than the line of adhering to the manifesto advocated by Ozawa and Hatoyama, who both supported Kaieda.

Points of contention that were supposed to be resolved during previous DPJ presidential elections later flared up and triggered internal feuds.

Lawmakers who voted for Kaieda this time must respect the maintenance of the three-party accord and reexamination of the party manifesto–the assertions made by Noda.

Noda called for party unity by emphasizing the crisis the DPJ faces for survival, using such phrases as “last chance” and “having our backs to the wall.”

Reflecting on past failures, Noda must be firmly resolved to rejuvenate the party.

Every candidate in the DPJ election acknowledged there are problems with the party’s process of making policy decisions.

This reflects the chaos outgoing Prime Minister Naoto Kan caused with his haphazard policies.

Noda must show regard for the policy decision-making process.


Use bureaucrats wisely

As Noda himself has pointed out, politician-led politics means lawmakers are responsible for making important policy decisions while entrusting what can be done by bureaucrats to them.

He is expected to reexamine governance methods so he can make the most of the massive bureaucracy.

Noda repeatedly stressed the need to conduct “politics that transcends grudges.”

However, this should not mean ending Ozawa’s party membership suspension.

The first touchstone for this will be who Noda selects for the party leadership lineup and his cabinet.

The incoming administration will have to answer the question of how it will win cooperation from the opposition parties.

Asked after the presidential election about the possibility of forging a grand coalition with the LDP and Komeito, Noda told reporters he would “seek tenaciously to keep company with them and look at such a possibility.”

This suggests he is considering a grand coalition by building trust with the two main opposition parties.

It is essential that consultative talks with the opposition parties are not rushed.


LDP, Komeito have role to play

The LDP and Komeito remain negative toward a grand coalition, denouncing it as “an exception of exceptions.”

But the ruling and opposition parties must cooperate in compiling the fiscal 2011 third supplementary budget that will be necessary to promote intensive disaster reconstruction projects.

Japan faces a host of challenges, including possible participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade framework, reform of the social security and electoral systems, energy policy and the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture.

Whichever party holds power will not be able to sidestep these issues.

The crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has yet to be brought under control, and the economic environment remains severe as the yen hovers at record-high levels.

The nation’s growth strategy that centered on exports of such infrastructure as Shinkansen high-speed railway systems and nuclear power plants has come to a standstill.

We think the LDP and Komeito should put priority on reviving the national economy rather than harrying Noda into dissolving the lower house for a snap election.

The two parties must bear responsibility for having held the reins of government for so long.

Noda’s election as DPJ president and inauguration of a new administration is a golden opportunity to break away from “politics that gets nothing done.” It must be used wisely.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 30, 2011)
(2011年8月30日02時04分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: Uncategorized パーマリンク



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