In politics, it's important who is on top. The Democratic Party of Japan is torn over whether to go into the coming election behind party leader Ichiro Ozawa or without him. It's become clear that a certain enterprise has donated enormous amounts of money to Ozawa, and the lower house representative's top aide is being charged with violating the political fund control law for mishandling political fund-raising.
Many of our citizens are disgusted by the openness to financial influence the DPJ chief shows at the very time when his party has a chance to take power and make him the prime minister.
Even some DPJ candidates in the coming election are puzzled. Party supporters are starting to say that running under Ozawa will kill the DPJ. Yet the party leaders continue to leave Ozawa on the mound. It's an odd choice.
The Liberal Democratic Party also faces difficult questions, though they have been eclipsed by the Ozawa problems. Once the DPJ solidifies, there's a likelihood that the move to dethrone Prime Minister Taro Aso will be re-ignited within the LDP.
Both parties need to reform their leadership before they negotiate a dissolution of the lower house and set a date for the next election.
It is the responsibility and duty of political parties in a democracy to show a clear commitment to voters. In this time of tectonic change, what sort of country does Japan want to become? What kind of economic policies will it take to fight unemployment during this serious recession? Will it defend or reject Article 9 of the Constitution, which defines Japan as a country of peace? Will it sublimate or liberate itself from the current US-Japan relationship? Will it build a society based on harmony and cooperation or competition? Will it decentralize power and give the provinces more autonomy? These are the basic questions confronting our country, and the people deserve clear policy and vision from their leaders. This is something that should come from each and every candidate, not just the heads of the political parties.
To overcome the problems facing the country today, a fresh breeze needs to blow through the political world and change all this trifling and contentiousness. Lately it seems like politicians are stirring up trouble just for the sake of it. These meaningless battles are harmful and useless. All parties need to cease such activities and begin building a collective framework to help us out of this recession.