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2011 March 30 - April 5 [POLITICS]

DPJ and LDP rush to form grand coalition

April 5, 2011
The ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party are stepping up moves to form a grand coalition government.

DPJ Secretary General Okada Katsuya on April 1 met in the Diet building with his LDP counterpart Ishihara Nobuteru, and asked him for cooperation in revising the Cabinet Law with the aim of enabling the Cabinet to have three more ministers. Ishihara indicated that he will give positive consideration to the matter.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Kan Naoto had no prospect of enacting a special law to issue public bonds that would cover about 40 percent of total resources for the national budget. The cabinet intends to get the bill passed and promote disaster reconstruction efforts on its own terms.

A DPJ member says, “Having more ministers will lead to a cabinet reshuffle and a grand coalition government. This is a move needed to prepare for the enactment of disaster reconstruction bills and the passage of supplementary budgets.”

“The LDP doesn’t want to leave all of the reconstruction projects in the DPJ’s hands. The disaster has put off the possibility of a snap general election and we cannot stand being in the opposition for such a long time. Thus, the two parties share common interests,” said an LDP lawmaker.

Under the rubric of a grand coalition, the two parties are acting for party interests: the DPJ is trying to keep its government alive; the LDP aims to come back to power and claim “achievements.”

If they truly want to form a “Crisis Management Government” to promote disaster relief and deal with the ongoing nuclear crisis, they should set up a unity government in which all political parties take part.
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