川口氏訪中 委員長の「解任」は行き過ぎだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 10, 2013
Demanding dismissal of Kawaguchi over China trip is going too far
川口氏訪中 委員長の「解任」は行き過ぎだ(5月9日付・読売社説)

Is this a matter really worth demanding the dismissal of the chairwoman of a House of Councillors standing committee? We doubt the appropriateness of this abrupt demand.

On Wednesday, the Democratic Party of Japan and six other opposition parties jointly submitted to the upper house a resolution demanding the removal of Yoriko Kawaguchi as chairwoman of the chamber’s Environment Committee.

The opposition parties blamed Kawaguchi, a Liberal Democratic Party member, for extending her trip to China by one day without obtaining approval from opposition parties, resulting in the adjournment of an Environment Committee meeting.
“It’s impossible to overlook her act, as it’s tantamount to abdicating her duty as chairwoman,” the opposition parties said.

The resolution will be put to a vote Thursday, and is likely to be adopted as opposition parties hold a majority in the chamber. If adopted, it will be the first case in Japan’s constitutional history of such a resolution being passed against the leader of a standing Diet committee.

Reason for extension

Initially, Kawaguchi was scheduled to stay in China on April 23 and 24, and the main purpose of the trip was to attend a meeting of former foreign ministers of Asian countries. However, after arriving in China, a meeting with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, a vice prime minister-level official, was set for April 25. Kawaguchi extended her trip to take the meeting.

There is an agreement between ruling and opposition parties to ask leaders of Diet standing committees to refrain from going abroad when the Diet is in session. Kawaguchi had to obtain approval from the executive board of the upper house’s Rules and Administration Committee for her two-day trip to China.

Despite failing to obtain approval from opposition parties to extend her trip, Kawaguchi decided to stay for the additional day. It is clear she broke a rule. Opposition parties have also questioned the effectiveness of the meeting, saying it was meaningless for her to meet with a key Chinese official, as Kawaguchi is not in charge of diplomatic policy.

However, due to confrontations between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, exchanges and direct communications between the two nations’ key government officials have almost completely stopped. We believe a meeting with Yang, who presides over China’s diplomacy under the regime of President Xi Jinping, was meaningful to some degree.

After apologizing, Kawaguchi said, “I couldn’t turn my back on an opportunity that could serve national interests, which include protecting our sovereignty and land.”

We believe opposition parties should have accepted Kawaguchi’s apology, instead of adopting the heavy-handed approach of demanding her dismissal. If Kawaguchi had committed a mistake over an important bill, for example, demanding her dismissal would be understandable. This is not the case and the opposition parties have apparently overstepped.

Opposition’s motives

Under upper house rules, it is possible to appoint a standing committee member to act as a proxy. It was possible for the Environment Committee to host their meeting on April 25 under a proxy.

We assume opposition parties intend to reinforce their confrontational approach against the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of this summer’s upper house election. Some DPJ members said they expect this incident to become a foothold toward setting up a common front between opposition parties. However, voters are unlikely to be impressed with the opposition parties’ tactics.

In protest of the opposition’s resolution, the LDP and New Komeito boycotted an intense deliberation of an upper house Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday. It is unusual for ruling parties to skip budget deliberations–and quite irresponsible as well.

Instead of focusing on attacking each other’s missteps, both ruling and opposition parties should rather focus on competing fairly with their policies.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 9, 2013)
(2013年5月9日01時28分 読売新聞)


srachai について

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



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