--The Asahi Shimbun, June 29
EDITORIAL: Time for the LDP to grow up and get the Diet moving
Nearly one month after announcing his intention to resign "in due time," Prime Minister Naoto Kan on June 28 finally spelled out the conditions for his resignation--the enactment of a second supplementary budget, a bill on issuing special government bonds, and legislation concerning renewable energy.
There were no surprises here, and we assumed the political confusion of recent days would finally come to an end and things would start moving.
But we were wrong. The Diet remains stalled, with no prospects of these three bills becoming law.
One reason for this situation is that the opposition Liberal Democratic Party is up in arms over the Democratic Party of Japan's ploy to win over individual opposition lawmakers, one by one, by appointing Kazuyuki Hamada, an LDP member of the Upper House, as parliamentary secretary for internal affairs and communications.
An irate LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki stated, "This is tantamount to a declaration (by the DPJ's) that it wants no cooperation whatsoever from the LDP."
Party Secretary-General Nobuteru Ishihara denounced the DPJ move just as vehemently. "All I can say is that the ruling party is completely untrustworthy," he said.
"There is no relationship of mutual trust to render any meaningful discourse possible."
Anger is boiling over within the LDP, with members decrying the ruling party's "foul play" and "declaration of war (on the LDP)."
The LDP's ire is quite understandable. For all his calls for cooperation from the LDP, Kan has effectively hit the LDP where it hurts.
But we wish the LDP would grow up.
The people are disgusted with their prime minister, but they are also bitterly disappointed with the Diet that has lately done nothing but attack Kan.
All three bills cited by Kan are perfectly reasonable.
Actually, the fact that the prime minister has to step down in exchange for their legislation is an anomaly in itself.
The last thing the people want is to see the ruling and opposition camps keep stabbing each other in the back.
We urge the LDP to settle down and look at the situation objectively.
The second supplementary budget will provide for the distribution of dosimeters for children and the construction of ice-making facilities in disaster-damaged areas so fishermen will be able to resume operations.
Without legislation to enable special deficit-covering government bond issues, how can the nation finance post-disaster reconstruction work?
As for the proposed law to promote renewable energy, nobody could really oppose solar and wind power generation, irrespective of where they stand on nuclear energy.
The LDP has absolutely nothing to gain by blocking these bills.
Surely, the only way to prove its mettle as a party that ruled the nation for decades is to commit to passing these bills swiftly for the sake of survivors of the March disaster as well as the nation at large, and then unseat the Kan administration.
The party must discern what's important and what's trivial, and not bother with the latter. Only then will the public regain their respect for the LDP.
We are certainly not saying the LDP should help to prolong the life of the Kan administration.
On the contrary, the DPJ as a whole has already abandoned Kan, and there is no way his administration can survive.
In fact, a general assembly of DPJ lawmakers of both houses of the Diet on June 28 clamored for Kan's early resignation. Even party executives did not conceal their disappointment with Kan.
How long does the LDP intend to keep bickering with this effectively lame-duck administration?
It's time for the LDP to roll up its sleeves and get the Diet moving.