(Mainichi: July 22, 2015 – p. 5)
Six months have passed since Katsuya Okada became president of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan in January. Although now is the time for the DPJ to turn up the heat on the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the approval rating for the Abe cabinet is dropping due to its railroading of the security-related bills, there is discord in the party. A rocky path lies ahead of the reconstruction of the DPJ that President Okada is hoping to achieve.
The DPJ decided on July 21 to start drawing up counterproposals to the government-sponsored security legislation. However, Okada is still reluctant to submit them to the Diet. As a result, there is dissatisfaction in the DPJ with Okada’s policy. A group of 20 conservative DPJ lawmakers calling for drafting counterproposals held a meeting on July 20. At a press conference on July 21, Policy Research Committee Chairman Goshi Hosono, who participated in the meeting, said emphatically, “It is extremely important to provide clear explanations through counterproposals.”
The issue of whether the reconstruction of the party or the realignment of opposition parties is more important has not been resolved. With an eye on the House of Councillors election in the summer of 2016, the Okada leadership intends to push forward with coordination on electoral districts with the Japan Innovation Party and other parties. However, conservative members have been protesting that “the party should promote the realignment of opposition parties so that it can compete in the Upper House election.” (Slightly abridged)