Japan Press Weekly
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DPJ makes about-face with general election in mind
The Democratic Party of Japan on October 8 called for expediting the enactment of the bill to extend the anti-terrorism special measures law that enables the Self-Defense Forces to continue to refuel U.S. warships operating in the war against Afghanistan in the Indian Ocean.
The DPJ was making an about-face from the position it held when DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama Yukio had criticized the deployment of the SDF to the Indian Ocean. On October 1, he made a statement at the House of Representatives Plenary Session, stressing, gJapan sent the SDF to Iraq and the Indian Ocean as at the U.S. beck and call, leaving a stain in history of the constitutional government.h
On October 8, the DPJ suddenly demanded that the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law be put to the vote in the House of Representatives Plenary Session without further deliberations.
DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chair Yamaoka Kenji called for the shortest possible discussion at the Diet committee so that a vote can be taken as promptly as possible.
Behind this policy change is the DPJfs wishful thinking that there would be no reason for the Aso Cabinet to refuse to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election.
Trying to meet the U.S. demand to prolong the SDF operation in the Indian Ocean, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties have warmly welcomed the DPJfs policy change.
The government and the ruling coalition are sticking to extending the SDF deployment to the Indian Ocean based on their fundamental policy, which is, as described by Prime Minister Aso Taro, the gstrengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance. This always comes first.h
The DPJ shares this basic stance with the ruling parties. DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro said that his party places the gmaintenance and development of the Japan-U.S. allianceh at the top of its domestic and security policies.
The DPJ is trying to avoid a thorough discussion on the bill to extend the anti-terrorism special measures law because based on the shared policy, it cannot offer argument that will show any differences between the ruling parties and itself to the public.
Whether to continue the SDF operation in the Indian Ocean to support the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is a major national issue which forced two former prime ministers, Abe and Fukuda, to resign from political power.
To conduct a thorough discussion of the issue before a general election is a significant role for the Diet to fulfill now. - Akahata, October 10, 2008
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