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2008 October 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

True colors of DPJ

October 23, 2008
Akahata ‘Current’ column

In September 2007, then Prime Minister Abe Shinzo disbanded his cabinet when he realized his inability to get a bill enacted. His successor, Fukuda Yasuo, also had difficulty paving the way for its enactment.

When the bill was being discussed in the Diet, there arose a plan for a ‘grand coalition’ to be formed between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan.

This was the bill to allow the Self-Defense Forces to supply fuel to U.S. warships operating in the Indian Ocean.

Recently, a similar bill was approved without difficulty by the House of Representatives. Only two days were allotted to the bill’s discussion in a special committee. If a similar speedy proceeding takes place in the House of Councilors, Prime Minister Aso will have no difficulty clearing the hurdle in the House of Councilors. This is something that the people do not want to see happen.

Due to the DPJ’s change of mind, the present Diet looks completely different from the one that we saw last year.

The DPJ says that it is opposed to the bill, but that it will cooperate with the ruling parties in an early enactment of the bill. In return they want an early dissolution of the House of Representatives.

It may be that they are concerned more for the creation of a political situation in their favor than maintaining their previous stance on a major issue that has a major bearing on the country’s future.

The DPJ does not seek to use a filibuster, its usual delaying tactics. This time around, it is willing to end the discussion as quickly as possible. The public may well think that the DPJ is not sure about the need for further discussion. However, there was in fact another reason. In the two-day discussion in the committee, the DPJ revealed its real intention in many ways.

At the committee meeting, the DPJ representative, who is also the defense minister in its “next cabinet” (shadow cabinet), stated that it is constitutional for the SDF to use force abroad if the mission has been organized in accordance with a U.N. resolution. The DPJ policy research council chair echoed this argument by stating that it would change the constitutional interpretation to enable the use of force abroad if the DPJ takes power.

The Japanese Communist Party is calling for the fundamental direction of politics to be changed. Indeed, the DPJ seems to have no interest at all in changing the direction of politics. The DPJ seems to be competing with the LDP by asserting itself as a party that can better weaken the war renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
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