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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 October 14 - 20  > DPJ members complain lack of inner-party policy-making body
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2009 October 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

DPJ members complain lack of inner-party policy-making body

October 20, 2009
Prior to the extraordinary Diet session starting on October 26, government ministries are holding policy meetings almost everyday in the Diet.

Hosted by vice ministers, the meetings are aimed at giving lectures on budgets and policies to members of ruling parties, mainly the Democratic Party of Japan, and hearing their opinions.

Calling for unification of policy-making systems, the DPJ dissolved its inner-party policy research committee. The sectional meeting system for DPJ members to discuss policies were also abolished.

“Ruling parties only confirm decisions made by the top three ministerial officials (minister, vice minister, parliamentary secretary) in the policy meeting. It is as if political parties and the parliament are integrated into administrative bodies. While calling for a ‘breakaway from bureaucracy’, what is being built now is a new ‘bureaucratic nation’.” Such criticism was expressed by a DPJ member.

A DPJ parliamentarian’s secretary said, “Nearly half of the opinions expressed at policy meetings concern the question of how their opinions will be reflected in policy.”

After the recent general election, the DPJ has more than 400 members in the Upper and Lower Houses. Among them, only about 70 “elite” members (top three ministerial officials) can participate in actual policy-making.

A DPJ member said, “The DPJ does not have a place to discuss and create policies. Its members’ right to introduce legislation is restricted. It is a rejection of legislative power and against the structure of the Constitution.”

“Criticisms will inevitably be raised within the party, such as, ‘We have not given the top three ministerial officials the full authority to make policies.’ Currently, the Cabinet’s support rate is high, and there seem to be only a few problems. But once its policy options reach a deadlock, voters’ complaints will be concentrated on the offices of individual members of the ruling parties. They won’t forgive us just because we haven’t been involved in policy-making. It is impossible for political parties to avoid policy discussions,” said a middle-level DPJ member.

Triggered by the change of government, a basic relation between parties, the Diet, and the government is now being called into question.
- Akahata, October 20, 2009
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