Coalition government without alternative key policies is meaningless -- Akahata editorial, August 8 (excerpts)

Ten years have passed since the Liberal Democratic Party surrendered its 38-year-old political power on August 9, 1993, to a coalition government of eight non-LDP groups with Hosokawa Moriteru as prime minister. It marked the beginning of coalition politics. Coalition partners changed for the subsequent governments.

Change of governments without policy change

Koizumi Jun'ichiro is the seventh prime minister to lead a coalition cabinet. Political parties have been very quick to change their position, from ruling into opposition and from opposition into ruling. Many parties regrouped or were even renamed. The Japanese Communist Party and the LDP are the only parties to have survived the decade with the same names.

A Yomiuri Shimbun survey published on June 26 shows that only 9.2 percent of the respondents said they think national politics took a turn for the better during the last decade.

These coalition governments, regardless of being "non-LDP" or LDP-led, have carried out the historical hallmark of LDP governments. When the then Socialist Party leader led a coalition with the LDP, he declared that he would continue adherence to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty system along with LDP politics.

New agreements were concluded every time the government changed coalition partners, but the basic course of politics remain unchanged. Politics hasn't changed for the better in the last decade because coalition rule meant no change of policy but a mere change of hands.

Particularly, the close relations between the ruling and opposition parties helped to promote the attempt to send the Self-Defense Forces abroad in line with U.S. military strategy. The 1999 Law on the Situation in Areas Surrounding Japan and the latest contingency laws submitted by the LDP easily got support from opposition parties which had ever been a ruling party.

The present political situation calls for a drastic change away from the conventional course based on LDP politics.

Change away from LDP politics

The U.S. war on Iraq and Japan's unconditional support for it have shown that the abnormal subordination to the United States must end. The prolonged economic recession worsened by corporate restructuring or the tight bank loan market have proved that without taking actions to curb rampant large corporations, Japan's economy cannot be gotten back on track.

In order to end subordination to the United States and regulate large corporations, the JCP proposes a drastic change away from LDP politics.

The last decade of coalition governments has taught the lesson that there should be no more mere change of hands. It is necessary to make the first step toward genuine change. (end)

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.