Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The LDP Should Rally behind Party President Tanigaki

The Ozawa-Hatoyama government is the most despotic and irresponsible regime in Japan's postwar history. If it wins in the summer's upper house election, there will be no end to irresponsible government. Japan will be crushed. The onus for stopping this is on Tanigaki. If the LDP, Japan's No. 1 opposition party, is destroyed, it would be Japan's loss.

The main role of government is to avoid worst-case scenarios and keep the people safe from crises. The main crisis facing Japan today is the potential for a triumph of the Ozawa-Hatoyama government.
The Ozawa-Hatoyama-led Democratic Party of Japan pulled one over on the people last summer when it won the general election. However, just a half year into the administration, people are starting to realize the danger of this regime. In a Jiji Tsushinsha poll conducted in the first half of March, the Hatoyama administration's approval rating was 30%; those who disapproved totaled 48%. A Mainichi Shimbun poll conducted in early March elicited similar results. Asked whether they thought the first six months of the Hatoyama administration was a success, 31% said yes while 66% said no. Approval figures sank further after DPJ Deputy Secretary-General Ubukata was pushed out of his position for giving a speech criticizing Ozawa. The people are waking up to the idea that the political change they voted for last August 30 has resulted in the Revolution that Wasn't.
Meanwhile, Ichiro Ozawa, de facto ruler of Nagatacho, uses deception to destabilize the LDP. In Nagatacho, Ozawa is top dog. But in the rest of Japan, this government is like a candle flickering in a windstorm. This summer, we'll see whether this anti-Ozawa trend will grow or whether Ozawa will be able to muscle through with his anti-democratic government. We need to stop this despotic, irresponsible regime. I'm asking the Japanese people to see through the deception.
To do this, Tanigaki needs to lead a robust LDP. And the LDP needs to support its leader. There's a movement to splinter the party, but that bad idea needs to be put to rest. If certain party members can no longer endure under the LDP banner, they should resign as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Politics is not a Game

A word about how Masuzoe, Yosano and Kunio Hatoyama are flirting with a new party: Get serious and unify behind Tanigaki, a sincere LDP leader

The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan needs a return to seriousness. Politicians need sincerity. That's why the LDP should unify behind party President Sadakazu Tanigaki.
There's no persuasive power in the declaration made by Kaoru Yosano in the April edition of Bungei Shunju that a new political party should be formed. He talks of forming a new political party, but voices no political beliefs or policy stances. The only reason to create this party seems to be that Tanigaki didn't put forth policy in the Diet the way Yosano had proposed, so Yosano wants to form a new party to scare Tanigaki. Yosano can't suppress his personal ire. What a miserable story! Yosano's aim seems to be to improve his position within the party.
Masuzoe's story is the same: He talks of forming a new party without revealing any political beliefs or policy goals that would define that party. His only apparent reason is dissatisfaction with Tanigaki. From a distance, Masuzoe's maneuverings look just like Yosano's. They're both vying for position within the party.
While they rattle on about forming a new party, those in the know say there's another way to look at it: They're aim is to destroy the LDP from within. A very powerful member of the Democratic Party of Japan is working behind the scenes, this line of thought goes. This view is unexpectedly strong among some people and is believed in Nagatacho (the site of the Diet).
On March 15, Kunio Hatoyama left the LDP. People assumed he was setting up a new party. Hatoyama is a rich man, so money would not be an issue, but he doesn't have any beliefs or policies that he stands for. Many believe he's going to find himself all alone.
But after decades of working within the LDP, why do these men without exception have no desire to stay and rebuild the party? Tanigaki looks quite good when standing alongside Yosano, Masuzoe and Hatoyama. He quietly works very hard.
The movement among Hatoyama, Yosano, Masuzoe, Sonoda and others to form a new party gravely affects the serious members of the LDP. If the would-be defectors thought about the suffering they are causing their more serious party members, they wouldn't be able to go on making such a racket. These men have no empathy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Hatoyama/Ozawa Way: Ignore Constitution, Law, Diet

Article 83 of Japan's Constitution reads: "The power to administer national finances shall be exercised as the Diet shall determine."

The Hatoyama administration has ignored the decision of the Diet and put a stop to part of the first supplementary budget of fiscal 2009, shutting down as much as 3 trillion yen in spending. This action is in clear violation of Article 83. So is the fact that the Democratic Party of Japan has been leaking information about the location of public-works projects. But these infractions are drawing little debate. The Hatoyama administration is addicted to the party manifesto, elevating it above even the law and the Constitution. It's taking the authoritarian step of elevating the manifesto beyond the reach of the Diet. This tendency is going uncorrected.

◆ "This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the nation ..." (Article 98)
The article continues: "no law, ordinance, imperial rescript or other act of government, or part thereof, contrary to the provisions hereof, shall have legal force or validity." Yet Transport Minister Maehara announced immediately after taking his place in the Hatoyama administration that he was going to stop the construction of Yanba Dam "in line with the provisions of the manifesto." The budget for this was canceled. The Yanba Dam construction project was approved in accordance with river, multipurpose dam and water resource laws. The transport minister's arbitrary decision to revise and abolish parts of this budget for Yanba Dam construction is another clear violation of the Constitution.

◆ "The establishment of political ethics provides the basis for parliamentary politics." (Japan's code of political ethics)
The code of political ethics adopted by the Diet on June 25, 1985, is a regulation worth protecting. At one point it clearly states the duty of Diet lawmakers: "When there is any doubt about a potential violation of political ethics, we should sincerely work to clarify the situation and make our responsibility clear." Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and party chief Ichiro Ozawa are not living up to this code. In fact, they're completely ignoring it. Ozawa's disregard for the Diet is plain to see. This man who raises so much doubt among the populace is amassing power on a large scale. A democratic nation cannot stand for this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tardy Ministers Show Baseness by Passing Buck to Bureaucrats

Satsuki Eda, president of the upper house, correctly chides the latecomers

The three ministers who showed up late for a budget debate -- Haraguchi, Sengoku and Maehara -- should apologize for their embarrassing actions.

Let's look for a moment at the current trend of politicians and mass media making everything the fault of the bureaucrats.

It's an ugly trend. At its core is a politically motivated attempt to revise the national public service law. This should be stopped.

First it's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama obstinately insisting that he knew nothing of donations made by his mother. Then it's party chief Ichiro Ozawa using political funds to hunt for real estate, abandoning any attempts at accountability, putting the burden on his secretary and stressing his own innocence. And now it's the three tardy ministers: Haraguchi, Sengoku and Maehara. The spirit of the Democratic Party of Japan leadership is seriously impoverished. The people of Japan need to open their eyes to the reality behind this DPJ fantasy that's being propagated.

We should heed the discerning advice given to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano by House of Councillors President Satsuki Eda. He was quoted in the March 5 morning edition of Mainichi Shimbun as saying, "I was amazed to hear that the ministers were late. But it's unbecoming to blame it on a clerical miss while claiming to show political leadership."

I agree with Eda.

Politicians and mass media are too quick to blame the bureaucrats. This trend of making the bureaucrats the scapegoat while angling for a revision of the national public service law is a dangerous one. The bureaucrats do well to show their character and hold their tongues, but the subsequent bureaucrat-bashing is just wrong. DPJ lawmakers and media pundits ought to rethink their approach.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Reply to B-San, Friend of the DPJ

"Please remember your original intentions. If you submit to Secretary-General Ozawa's authoritarian rule, for what purpose did you become a politician? You should be working to loosen his iron grip. Remember why you chose this profession and please fight for your ideals."

B-san. I was pleased to receive a letter from you. Here is my reply. B-san, open your eyes. If we forgive Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa's authoritarian ways, that's the end of Japan as we know it. That's the end of the Democratic Party of Japan. Ozawa barks "turn right" and the DPJ turns to the right; he says "turn left," and the members promptly turn to the left. We must never forgive this sort of authoritarian politics.

Just about every DPJ lawmaker is ready to fight to protect Ozawa, but you know what this really means, don't you? A large amount of money used for political funds — ¥2.1 billion, to be exact — has been misreported; put more bluntly, the politicians are protecting the falsifying of financial reports. We can't forgive this sort of unjust money politics. Have you discarded your ideal of having the DPJ govern in a clean manner?

It is also strange that most of the DPJ supports and believes Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama when he says that he didn't know his mother was making donations to him. Turning away from the money problems of Ozawa and Hatoyama is the equivalent of abandoning political ethics.

B-san, please open your eyes. I hope you become a politician who fights for democracy.