(Mainichi: June 16, 2015 – Top play)
The Japan Innovation Party (JIP) decided on June 15 to submit counterproposals to the security-related bills currently being deliberated to the Diet before the end of this month. In light of this move, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito, which are eager to pass the bills during the current Diet session, have begun to consider engaging the JIP in discussions to revise the bills. With a growing opinion that the bills are unconstitutional, the ruling bloc believes that the LDP, Komeito, and the JIP working together will lay the groundwork for enacting the bills. The ruling parties also want to avoid being criticized for “railroading” these bills without the support of other parties.
On June 14, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with JIP supreme adviser, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto at a hotel in Tokyo for about three hours. This meeting was requested by Hashimoto and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and JIP adviser, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui were also present. According to a JIP source, they exchanged views on the security bills and it appears that Abe requested the JIP’s cooperation in passing the bills in the current Diet session. Hashimoto tweeted on June 15: “The JIP should distinguish itself from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The JIP is not obsessed with ideology; it values practical reason more,” thus indicating a negative view on cooperating with the DPJ.
The JIP is preparing counterproposals to the amendments of 10 laws grouped in a package called the “peace and security-related bills.”
The government and the ruling parties regard the JIP’s cooperation to be of “great significance” (according to a senior ruling party official), and there is now a suggestion to include some JIP proposals in the appendices of the security bills. LDP Diet Affairs Committee chair Tsutomu Saito told reporters on June 15 that, “We are not rejecting any counterproposals outright.” While Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki stated at a news conference on the same day that “it will not be easy to make revisions since the bills were discussed at length by the LDP and Komeito,” he also admitted that, “It is a fact that the JIP has cooperated with us so far and we are very grateful for that.”
Meanwhile, the LDP and the JIP have also begun consultations on revising the agricultural cooperatives reform bill, in addition to their discussions on amendments to the temporary workers placement law. The JIP is demanding more reforms of agricultural cooperatives in the bills. If the two parties can reach an agreement on revisions, the JIP is ready to support the bill.
However, there are also JIP members who are not keen on moving too close to the ruling parties and are opposed to discussing revisions to the security bills with the ruling bloc. Former party leader Kenji Eda said in a speech in Tokyo on June 15: “The hurdle put up by the JIP is not low enough for the Prime Minister to overcome easily. No concessions were made (at the Abe-Hashimoto meeting).” In light of this situation in the party, incumbent leader Yorihisa Matsuno told reporters: “We are not drafting our proposals on the assumption of engaging in consultations on revisions to the bills. At this point, we have no plan to hold such consultations.” (Slightly abridged)