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Editorial: No freshness in DPJ-JIP merger without policy consensus

  • 2016-02-24 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: February 24, 2016 – p. 2)


 It is unwise for Diet deliberations to be delayed because there is only one strong political party and many weak parties. Although the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) say that they will join hands to break the impasse, what expectations can the public have for this merger?


 DPJ President Katsuya Okada and JIP leader Yorihisa Matsuno have begun the process of merging their parties.


 Reportedly, after dissolving their party, the JIP lawmakers will join the DPJ and the name of the DPJ will be changed.


 It is problematic for the DPJ that despite being the largest opposition party, it is unable to gain the public confidence as a party that can run the administration. We wonder if this merger will improve the situation.


 If the two parties place priority on the survival of their members, the people will not have high expectations for them.


 The reason the two parties decided on the merger plan, which emerged last year, was apparently that they wanted to put an end to the situation in which the opposition parties were fragmented before the House of Councillors election this summer. They decided to merge immediately after the joint submission of bills calling for scrapping the security related laws.


 However, it is unclear how they will run the government. We have doubts about this since they have not indicated their plans.


 The members of the JIP include some former DPJ lawmakers. Matsuno served as deputy chief cabinet secretary in the Yukio Hatoyama government, but he opposed the comprehensive reform of the social security and taxation systems in the Yoshihiko Noda administration.


 Matsuno was expelled from the DPJ and moved to form the former JIP. We wonder how his policy views have changed since then.


 What kind of stance will the DPJ take regarding comprehensive reform?


 The two parties agreed last December on a “basic policy” for forming a parliamentary group. But they used vague expressions on such issues as constitutional amendment and administrative and fiscal reform on which there are major differences in their views.


 If they put coordination on important policies on the backburner, they will not be able to engage in debate with the massive ruling coalition.


 We are not opposed political realignment aimed at realizing political beliefs. However, political parties are being formed using national finances and then dismantled and put back together again.


 Explanations are not provided to the public until after things calm down. It is understandable that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party sharply criticized them as “immature parties.” (Slightly abridged)

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