Censured!

As planned, the House of Councillors passed a non-binding censure motion against the Fukuda government this evening.

It should be noted that the upper house passed twelve bills — including four government bills — on Tuesday, bypassing normal deliberation to clear the agenda for the censure motion. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t the DPJ complained about the government’s “ramming” legislation through the lower house with insufficient deliberation?

The government will not surprisingly ignore the motion and carry on; the lower house will pass a confidence motion in the prime minister on Thursday.

For once I agree with Machimura Nobutaka, who said that he understood the motion’s “political appeal” but saw no legal meaning in it. Breathless foreign coverage of the motion notwithstanding, all the DPJ has done is said, by way of a non-binding resolution, what it’s been saying all along: we object to how the LDP-led coalition is governing Japan. Yes, now it’s the upper house that’s saying it — officially — and not the DPJ, but that’s a trifling distinction.

On the plus side, at least the DPJ finally followed through on its threat, demonstrating just how feeble a threat it was. Did the DPJ really think that the government would crumple in the face of its censure motion, that forcing a dissolution of the lower house and a general election would be as easy as passing a non-binding resolution in the chamber they control?

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