Thursday, October 1, 2009

TV Commentator Tries to Diminish Premier's Financial Scandal

"The false campaign-fund reports filed by Hatoyama's private office pose a small problem for the premier. In fact, it's odd to even call it a problem." Thus spoke a famous TV commentator on a highly rated program recently. However you view this case, I want to make my thoughts on the issue clear.

Our society is predicated on the assumption that everyone is supposed to obey the law. Legislators who make the laws should take extra measures to adhere to the law.

Rep. Hatoyama admitted as much when the campaign-fund scandal broke, announcing that he was firing the secretary in charge. But that doesn't make the problem of the false reports go away. There needs to be an investigation into whether laws were broken. This issue needs to be resolved in a clear manner.

When the same sort of scandal hit the Liberal Democratic Party, many LDP lawmakers resigned in response. But Hatoyama has explained the scandal once and taken no other action. During the election campaign, the issue of the false reports was all but omitted from the discussion. The media was silent. Is this what we want?

On the Sept. 20 broadcast of TV Asahi's "Sunday Project," T-san, a well-known commentator, said of the scandal, "It's a minor thing. We need to be debating bigger issues." His view is prevalent among Democratic Party of Japan members, but is it correct? It's not healthy to give someone a pass just because they climbed their way to the premiership. In fact, we should do the opposite: Because Hatoyama is the prime minister, he should be held to a high standard. No one is above the law.