Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Deal with the Urgent Issues before Calling for Elections

Creating an Economic Policy to Halt Bankruptcies
Calling for dissolution of the lower house and the subsequent election is a high-priority political issue. But there's one big obstacle that needs to be grappled with before an election is scheduled: the current economic downturn. While this is a global crisis and not one that Japan can solve by itself, the government needs to at least enact policies that would prevent massive bankruptcies. Once that is taken care of, the lower house can be dissolved.

As the US-led financial crisis deepens, Japan's corporate community is in danger of falling into pandemonium. A lot of companies are having trouble securing financing for the year-end — and it is not only the smaller companies that stare bankruptcy in the face. A chain of bankruptcies would have serious consequences. We should take whatever steps are necessary to stop a potential wave of corporate failures. The government needs to mobilize to protect companies on the financial and credit fronts, and it should do this before calling for elections.

Defend Our Livelihood through Lower Taxes, Public Works
A lot of families are facing bankruptcy too. Their incomes haven't gone up, and they must bear increasing financial burdens. Prices are on the rise, stretching family budgets. Financial institutions are demanding more debt repayment. Credit card companies are beginning to limit card usage. If nothing is done, it's very possible that we'll see a huge spike in personal bankruptcies.

We need emergency policies that defend our livelihood. The government needs to turn around its financial policies and start lowering taxes and relying more on public-works spending.

Political Parties Should Have a Policy Debate
The world has entered a difficult period. Japan must begin to discuss how we will live through this. As the age of Pax Americana comes to an end, Japan should re-examine its alliance with the US.

We can't shy away from debating which direction to take: neoliberalism or modified capitalism. We must also have a serious discussion about all aspects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and whether the Japanese people want to live as a peaceful nation.

All this should be done before we hold elections. The current political debate is far too small in scope. The election should be an occasion for charting Japan's new course.