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.