Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Don't Forgive the Dissolution Dodgers

The political attempts to avoid dissolution of the lower house have grown quite flagrant. Avoidance of this issue will only intensify the people's distrust of politics. Much of the responsibility for this should be placed directly on the shoulders of Prime Minister Taro Aso and his fellow leaders. Dissolution and a general election are important events for Japan. Leaders of the ruling and opposition parties should begin discussions to put an end to this politics of avoidance. The prime minister shouldn't fiddle around with this important event any longer. He should take immediate steps to bring leaders of the two sides together and discuss a political schedule that includes dissolving the lower house. This would bring some normalcy back to the political world. I'd like to see our politicians return to the state of the new candidate. Dissolution shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip; discussions should give us a clear sense of when the house will be dissolved.

Article 41 of our Constitution says, "The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power and shall be the sole law-making organ of the state." It is abnormal behavior to play with the timing of the dissolution of the most powerful house of the Diet, using it like a bargaining tool with the opposition. This is an attack on the citizens' power to choose its representatives. The Diet needs to clearly explain to the voters the coming schedule for dissolution of the lower house and the next election to put an end to this unusual mess. The political instability caused by the lack of a concrete schedule needs to come to an end. The lead actors in a general election are the voters. There are no more than 10 months left in the terms of the current lower house representatives. The Diet should decide when the next election will be held, and it should clearly inform the voters of the schedule. It should stop waiting for the prime minister, who can't make up his mind on the issue.

Most of the responsibility for the current confusion falls on Prime Minister Aso. He needs to show some leadership to put a period on this messy political situation and make things right. To do this, he needs to withdraw his statements that "dissolution is my decision to make. I will make it when the time is right," and entrust the decision to the Diet. The government should take emergency steps to reach an agreement among parties on the dissolution of the lower house and the next election. Prime Minister Aso needs to stop talking like the issue is up to him and find a way through discussions with the opposition to bring some clarity to the recent political muddle in Japan.