Democratic Party competes with Koizumi for faster 'structural reforms'

Apparently in a competition mode, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Japan's largest opposition party in the parliament, is challenging the new Koizumi Cabinet for "faster structural reform."

During his questioning on May 9 in the House of Representatives Plenary Session, DPJ leader Hatoyama Yukio called for the disposal of bank-held bad loans to be completed within two years as an initial "structural reform" step. On foreign policy, too, he echoed the government claim that the Japan-U.S. partnership must be the basis of Japan's diplomacy.

Edano Yukio, acting chair of the DPJ Policy Research Commission, was in agreement with Koizumi's proposal when he said that it is "unavoidable for the people to share burdens arising from the restructuring of the social welfare system." Prime Minister Koizumi said, "I share with the DPJ whatever possible," receiving favorable applause from DPJ members.

Yamasaki Taku, Liberal Democratic Party secretary general, in his speech called for changing the cabinet system, including the introduction of a public election system for the prime minister. He insisted that a "Heisei constitution" be established by 2010.

Yamasaki proposed to pass a Diet resolution calling for allowing the government to implement the right to collective self-defense to meet "situations in areas surrounding Japan" under the War Laws. P.M. Koizumi answered that he will "study the matter from various angles."

Kanzaki Takenori, representing the Komei Party, expressed that the party will support the Koizumi cabinet "with all its might." The Komei Party, which completely depends on the religious organization Soka Gakkai, just requested Koizumi to "carefully deal" with the problem of official worship at Yasukuni Shrine as put forward by Koizumi.

The Komei Party leader spent almost all his parliamentary speech to draw 'gains' from Koizumi, anticipating they will be useful in their own election campaigning, Akahata commented. (end)