Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Diet Has Work to Do

First on the list: take measure of the tsunami prevention bills shelved since last year and supported by lawmakers in the LDP and New Komeito

"Don't hesitate to correct errors."
-- Confucius

How many lawmakers who refused to endorse the tsunami prevention bills tabled since last year paused to reflect on their actions once they saw the vast tragedy of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami? Many lawmakers didn't listen to Diet member Toshihiro Nikai's plea that "we should act quickly on these tsunami bills." But if any are feeling embarrassment or remorse for ignoring his plea, these are honorable politicians.

Supporters of the bill were Nikai (the former minister of trade and industry) and other members of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito Party. Nikai is an expert on crisis management, considered the top authority on the subject in the political world. He is second to none in his knowledge of disasters, earthquakes and crisis management. He has also studied tsunamis. For a long time, he has been preaching the necessity of the tsunami prevention bills.

There is no "if" in politics, but when the bills were introduced last year, if the Democratic Party of Japan had understood the need for them, they most likely would have passed and the laws would have been part of current policy toward the giant tsunami.

But we can't change the past. There's no use worrying about what might have been. It's still not too late for these bills. To bring Nikai's legislation back to life, the ruling and opposition parties need to hold a joint conference right away.

Finally, I have some harsh words for the government and the ruling party. The Kan Cabinet is using this moment to realize its DPJ manifesto, This is no time for foolishness. Put all your energy into crisis management.