Two-party system discards public wishes -- Akahata editorial, November 14
"The two major parties", the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan, formed the majority in the House of Representatives following the general election.
The media, including newspapers and broadcasters, are running analyses of the general election results. Asahi Shimbun of November 11 reported a survey of Lower House freshmen concerning "constitutional amendment", showing that more than two-thirds of respondents, the number sufficient for the parliament to propose amendments, said "yes" or "likely yes".
Two-thirds agree with constitutional amendments
The LDP and the DPJ competed with each other for revising the Constitution during the election campaign. The LDP declared, "We will take a big step toward constitutional amendments in 2005," and the DPJ declared, "We will develop 'discussion' into 'recreation' of the Constitution." The number of Dietmembers who are in favor of amendments, mainly from the LDP and the DPJ, already accounts for more than two-thirds of Dietmembers.
In the Asahi survey, 60 percent of the LDP and 29 percent of the DPJ members elected on November 9 answered "yes" and 28 percent of the LDP and 33 percent of the DPJ "likely yes".
If two-thirds and more of the Dietmembers approve, the Diet can propose constitutional amendments and hold a national referendum. Although the time is not ripe for the Diet to do so as Asahi Shimbun stated, "Opinions are divided on articles to be revised." But the enactment of a law to hold a national referendum, which the LDP seeks to achieve by 2005, is possible if all advocates of constitutional amendments agree.
The main problem is that those who support constitutional amendments in the new parliament do not represent the general public's view on the Constitution.
In drafting amendments, the LDP and some other parties are focusing on Article 9 which states that Japan forever renounces war and will never maintain military forces. However, it is important to note that every survey shows that more than 70 or 80 percent of the respondents expressed support for Article 9 (74 percent in the Asashi survey in May, 2001).
These survey results show how the two-thirds of the Lower House who support a revision of the Constitution are at odds with the wishes of the public. If the Constitution is forcibly revised under the "two-party system", contradictions will unavoidably increase between the Diet and the citizens.
Touting a "two-party system" as an ideal political structure and flattering the LDP and DPJ, both supporting revisions of the Constitution, the pro-"two-party system" arguments have persuaded many voters into choosing one of these two parties in the election. The survey of the elected Lower House members suggests to what extent the idea of "two-party system" is contrary to democracy.
The purpose of elections is to accurately reflect citizens' opinions in the Diet. Ignoring the public desire to defend the Constitution, the call for a "two-party system" fundamentally conflicts with the idea of reflecting various opinions.
Unfair election system
The unfair election system that combines single-seat constituencies and proportional representation constituencies expands the distance between the Diet composition and public opinions.
In single-seat constituencies, the LDP obtained 56 percent of all seats (168 seats) with only 43.8 percent of total votes cast. Proportional representation blocs are supposed to cover the insufficiency of single-seat blocs for broadly more accurately reflecting public opinion. However, some media analyzed that since each proportional representation constituency elects only a limited number of members, this election system is favorable to big parties.
People power is essential in order to confront the competition for undemocratic politics between two parties created by the unfair election system. The Japanese Communist Party will continue to make efforts in cooperation with the public to stop the moves toward a constitutional revision. (end)
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