As usual for LDP and conservative complaints about the post-July political situation, the proposal bemoans how the divided Diet makes it difficult to address Japan’s national interests, in this case fixing the country’s abysmal fiscal situation. (No mention, of course, as to how that situation came about in the first place.)
May I make the modest proposal that perhaps more democracy is in Japan’s national interest, no matter what the impact on public policy (and no matter how insufferable Mr. Ozawa and the DPJ can be at times)?
The rule changes demanded by the Machimura faction are nothing short of anti-democratic, in that they would limit the HC’s ability to exercise its constitutional duty to act on a certain type of legislation. The Japanese people voted last year to give control of the House of Councillors to different parties than that controlling the House of Representatives. Just because it has made governing more difficult does not give the LDP the right to manipulate the political process to reverse the consequences of the election.
Fortunately Mr. Fukuda disagrees with the opinion of his faction. He replied by emphasizing that he intends to “take every opportunity to appeal to the opposition parties” for cooperation. And so it should be: as we learned this month, the government and opposition are perfectly capable of cooperating on legislation, despite the media-driven impression of gridlock. The constitution mandated roles for each house, and the LDP should not opportunistically undermine one house just because it’s now become a hindrance to LDP rule.
(Incidentally, this is why Japan needs regular alternation of ruling parties: a ruling party aware that it could easily end up in the opposition would perhaps be less blithe about proposing rule changes to handicap the opposition.)