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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 14 - 20  > DPJ in Tokyo suddenly begins to criticize Governor Ishihara
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2007 February 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

DPJ in Tokyo suddenly begins to criticize Governor Ishihara

February 16, 2007
With the Tokyo gubernatorial election due in April, the Democratic Party of Japan in the metropolitan assembly has started criticizing Governor Ishihara Shintaro.

At a plenary session of the metropolitan assembly on February 14, DPJ representative Tanaka Ryo questioned Ishihara about his use of tax money for luxurious overseas trips and dinners as well as about the appointment of his son to important positions in metropolitan government projects.

Tanaka said, “We will reveal how Governor Ishihara’s policies have hurt the metropolitan administration by examining each case and then appeal to the residents to vote out the governor.”

Tanaka even bitterly denounced Ishihara, saying, “You lost sight of the boundaries between public and private. Placing yes-men around you, you are like ‘The Emperor with New Clothes’.”

In response to Tanaka, Ishihara ironically said, “What a showy speech! Probably you have the upcoming election in mind. You said you give a score of 30 to my metropolitan administration. Then, I would like to ask you why the DPJ has supported all of the metropolitan government proposals?”

Indeed, the DPJ has unmistakably been a ruling party in the metropolitan assembly along with the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties. The DPJ has supported all of the 489 bills proposed by the governor, including draft budgets, since the metropolitan assembly members’ election in 2005. Even former DPJ President Maehara Seiji acknowledged this saying, “[The DPJ] has supported [his administration] 100 percent; The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is in the ‘all-are-ruling-parties’ setup.”

Furthermore, the DPJ has, in fact, joined Ishihara in promoting adverse policies. For instance, it supported the abolition of the welfare allowance for elderly residents, insisting that the cash payment program keeps the recipients confined to bed.

The party also backed the metropolitan government policy of forcing public school teachers and students to stand up for the Hinomaru flag and sing Kimigayo at school ceremonies. In March 2004, the DPJ urged the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to punish teachers whose students had refused to stand up to sing Kimigayo.

Despite Tanaka’s criticism of Ishihara’s luxurious trips abroad, DPJ metropolitan assembly members also made overseas trips every year from 2001 to 2004. Last year, they toured the most famous tourist spot in South America, the Iguazu Falls, spending 1.91 million yen each in tax money.

No matter how diligently the DPJ poses as an opposition party, the party cannot erase its record as Governor Ishihara’s ruling partner.
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