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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 January 27 - February 2  > Voters’ views about political parties changing
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2010 January 27 - February 2 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Voters’ views about political parties changing

Januar y 31, 2010
“The current situation of Japanese politics seems to be disastrous. All political parties, except the Japanese Communist Party, are hurting. Should I set my hopes on the JCP?” or “I’ve never voted for the JCP. But, now, I feel somehow close to the JCP.” – Recently, the JCP head office has received such comments by e-mail or telephone.

For these four and a half months since the inauguration of the Hatoyama administration, voters have witnessed the fact that the administration is showing confusion about the U.S. Futenma base relocation issue while turning its back on the public call for unconditional removal, postponed putting breaks on the former government policy to cut social welfare programs, and failed to fulfill its accountability for money scandals concerning its two leaders, Hatoyama and Ozawa. And now, the voters have drastically changed their assessment of political parties.

How are political parties responding to this? In January, the JCP, the DPJ, the SDP, and the LDP held their party congresses and adopted their action policies.

In the DPJ’s Convention, DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro used the convention as the stage for declaring that he will start his fight against the Tokyo District Prosecutor’s Office over his money scandal. There was no discussion on the DPJ’s action policy.

In the LDP Convention, no sign of remorse of its misgovernment was given. The LDP in its policies, including the pro-business growth strategy, a consumption tax increase, and a revision of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, keeps its position as pro-business and sees the Japan-U.S. military alliance as absolute.


Only the JCP clearly announced that it will make efforts to help people explore new directions for Japanese politics, move politics in a progressive direction in response to public demands, and end the government policy of prioritizing the interests of big businesses and the United States.

Regarding the JCP Congress, the Shinano Mainichi Shimbun editorial on January 16 stated that the JCP’s attitude seems to be more realistic and flexible.

Democratic Party of Japan

“Our supporters have started pouring out complaints,” said a member of Democratic Party of Japan, stating that many party supporters are now expressing frustration about the party’s failure to responsibly respond to the plutocratic scandals involving Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio and Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro.

The DPJ’s Convention was held on January 16 right after the arrest of DPJ House of Representatives member and Ozawa’s former secretary Ishikawa Tomohiro. As the party’s highest decision-making body, the Convention was expected to pursue Ozawa’s political and moral responsibility to reveal his own part in the allegation. However, Ozawa expressed his determination to fight the prosecutors while Hatoyama supported his intent to stay as the secretary general.

In addition to the plutocratic issues, the DPJ was expected to announce at the Convention a course of policies as the new ruling party. The action policy it adopted at the Convention, however, did not indicate a fundamental strategy for a new politics.

The action policy expressed that the DPJ will sincerely carry out its election platform (Manifesto) and the policy agreement reached among ruling parties. Other than that, it centered on election strategies, declaring that it will obtain more than half of the seats in the House of Councilors election.

One of the party’s Dietmembers said that DPJ parliamentarians should have had active discussions on fundamental policies before taking power.

As it became the ruling party, the DPJ abolished its inner-party policy making body. So far there is no move in the party to overcome its fundamental weakness which is sometimes described as a “party without a specific program.”

Liberal Democratic Party

The Convention of the Liberal Democratic Party was held on January 24. The convention should have been an occasion for the LDP to think over the meaning of the last general election that ousted the party from power.

However, LDP President Tanigaki Sadakazu in his address said, “We have been easily satisfied with the position as the ruling party, showed our intraparty discord to the public, and been inactive in implementing fresh and precise policies.” There were no self-criticism of their failed policies.

The adopted action policy includes the promotion of a “growth strategy” to assist big businesses, an increase in the consumption tax rate, and imposition of a new base on Okinawa under the pretext of the “steady implementation of reorganization of U.S. forces in Japan to maintain deterrence.” It also calls for enacting a permanent law to dispatch Self-Defense Forces abroad and a revision of the Constitution of Japan.

The LDP Convention also adopted a new Party Program that defines the party as a “conservative party for progress”. It holds up “enactment of a new constitution of Japan” as the first aim, which is nothing but a traditional LDP policy goal.

A senior LDP Dietmember talked about the disarray of the party, saying, “It was the LDP that turned Japan into an economic power after World War II. I think that to a certain extent the role of the LDP has ended. The question now is how to bring about a rebirth of the party. Is it the destiny of the LDP to be unable to change itself though it wants to?”

The LDP’s very foundation is endangered with Dietmembers leaving the party one after another and supportive organizations distancing themselves from it.

Social Democratic Party of Japan:

The Social Democratic Party held its convention January 23 and 24.

In its action policy the SDP advocates an “unconditional return of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station”. Its position, however, is ambiguous because of its agreement with the Democratic Party of Japan for a “close and equal Japan-U.S. alliance.”

SDP Chair Fukushima Mizuho is unwilling to raise questions concerning the political fund scandal involving DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro, for the sake of election cooperation.
- Akahata,Januar y 31, 2010
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