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DPJ, JIP take different approaches to Upper House debate on security bills

  • 2015-07-28 15:00:00
  • , Yomiuri
  • Translation

(Yomiuri: July 28, 2015 – p. 4)


 With deliberations on the security bills moving on to the House of Councillors, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is taking an even more confrontational attitude toward the Abe cabinet. In light of opinion polls showing cabinet disapproval rating overtaking approval rating, the DPJ reckons that it is more sensible to prioritize criticism of the administration. On the other hand, the Japan Innovation Party (JIP), whose support rating continues to languish after it submitted counterproposals to the security bills to the House of Representatives, is still unsure of its course of action.


 At a meeting with Rengo (Japan Trade Union Confederation) on the morning of July 27, DPJ leader Katsuya Okada expressed his determination in dealing with the Upper House debate. He said: “The cabinet disapproval rating has surpassed the approval rating. We will conduct the deliberations in a way that will further arouse the people’s opposition to the bills.”


 Former Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, who took the floor in the Upper House plenary session that afternoon, asserted, “These bills are unconstitutional. The people do not want counterproposals; they want these bills to be scrapped,” emphasizing that the DPJ aims at discarding the bills.


 Ahead of the Upper House deliberations, DPJ policy chief Goshi Hosono and others had advocated the drafting of counterproposals to show that the DPJ is a “responsible political party” capable of taking over the administration. However, this opinion was defeated by those who argued that “it is very unlikely that the counterproposals will be reflected in the government’s bills.” Secretary General Yukio Edano told reporters on July 27: “Halfhearted efforts on the security bills may cause the people to direct their criticism to us.”


 Meanwhile, the JIP is poised to take a two-pronged strategy of confronting the ruling parties, while also engaging in discussions to revise the government bills. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on the JIP to “continue to make all possible efforts to find common ground” at the Upper House plenary session on July 27. However, when Toranosuke Katayama, chair of the JIP caucus in the Upper House, suggested submitting counterproposals to the Upper House at a meeting of senior party officials on the same day, party leader Yorihisa Matsuno would only say: “Let’s decide after watching the trends in the deliberations.”


 The JIP submitted counterproposals to the Lower House to demonstrate that it is a responsible party, but its support rating has remained low at the 2% line. Matsuno and others are now doubtful about the submission of counterproposals.

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