「H2B」1号機 打ち上げ成功で夢が膨らむ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 12, 2009)
Dreams soar with debut of H-2B rocket
「H2B」1号機 打ち上げ成功で夢が膨らむ(9月12日付・読売社説)

The launch of the newly developed H-2B No. 1 rocket went so well that we can now dare to dream that people could one day travel into space aboard the vehicle.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on Friday successfully launched the domestically developed large rocket. Atop the rocket was an unmanned H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV) carrying supplies for the International Space Station; it was put into orbit successfully.

The HTV is expected to arrive at the ISS in a week after having its orbit gradually adjusted by remote operation from Earth. However, it is too soon to celebrate just yet, as many tricky and delicate tasks must be completed before the vehicle successfully docks at the ISS and unloads its cargo.

The H-2B is the largest domestically developed rocket, standing 56 meters tall and weighing 530 tons.

Jointly developed by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the rocket is powered by two first-stage engines of the preceding H-2A model to provide more thrust than that model.

Tapping existing technology helped keep a lid on the development costs of the H-2B--its 42 billion yen price tag is less than half that of the H-2A. Development went smoothly without major trouble.


Solid track record

Friday's launch marked the nation's 10th straight success for large-size rockets, including H-2A rockets. This achievement proves that accumulating experience is crucial for such missions.

A H-2B rocket will blast off for the ISS once a year as long as the space station remains in operation. H-2A rockets also will be used to launch satellites and space probe vehicles. This will go a long way to helping the nation achieve its long-cherished dream of receiving orders to launch commercial satellites of other nations.

Going through data obtained in the latest launch with a fine-tooth comb will improve the credibility of Japanese rockets in the eyes of overseas observers.

Expectations for Japan's transfer vehicles also are growing.

The HTV--10 meters long and 4.4 meters in diameter--is large enough to hold a bus inside. It weighs 16.5 tons.

The vehicle this time is carrying food and daily necessities for astronauts staying on the ISS as well as laboratory equipment from Japan and the United States.


Ahead of the pack

U.S. space shuttles have played a central role in transporting supplies to the ISS. But the time for shuttles to retire is nearing, due to the huge maintenance costs needed to keep them spaceworthy.

Russia and Europe have developed similar transport vehicles, but Japan's HTV can carry the largest loads. Whether the vehicle could successfully carry its cargo to the ISS therefore had set tongues wagging around the world.

The HTV has been designed to be as safe as a manned spaceship because when it docks with the ISS, astronauts will move in and out of the vehicle. JAXA officials have said they intend to use HTV technology in the development of the nation's first manned spaceship.

The launch of the H-2B rocket has ushered Japan's space technology into a new stage. We hope the new administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan also will help lay the foundation for further space technology development.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 12, 2009)
(2009年9月12日01時20分 読売新聞)

郵政民営化 利用者本位で問題点を改めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 11, 2009)
Fix postal service flaws from users' standpoint
郵政民営化 利用者本位で問題点を改めよ(9月11日付・読売社説)

We hope members of the envisaged coalition government will find the best way to make post offices more convenient and dependable hubs of local communities, while taking advantage of the benefits of postal service privatization.

The Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party included a plan to drastically review privatization of postal services in the agreement they signed Wednesday to launch a coalition government next week.

The three parties have agreed to freeze sales of stocks of Japan Post Holdings Co. owned by the government, and of stocks of Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co. owned by Japan Post Holdings Co. Furthermore, the parties agreed to review the four-unit postal system under the holding company.

It is a fact that many people believe the privatization of postal services has made them rather inconvenient. In the past, you could ask a mail deliverer, who came to your home, to deposit money in your savings account at a post office. However, this has become impossible since privatization because postal and banking services are now provided by two different companies. No doubt some customers are left scratching their heads when they see the counters of Japan Post Network and Japan Post Service set side-by-side at some post offices.

Some people have complained they cannot collect registered mail at nearby post offices, which could not be delivered to their homes as they were out. Others insist they are waiting longer to be served at their post office since privatization.


Preserve beneficial aspects

Inconveniences caused by the breakup and privatization of postal services must be remedied. We hope members of the envisaged government will take up nuisances and issues that have surfaced in the two years since privatization and review them from the standpoint of the customer--including the question of whether the four-unit Japan Post system is the best for end users.

A main pillar of the postal privatization was to shift money at Japan Post's financial arms from the public sector to the private sector to revitalize the domestic economy. We think this endeavor should be fiercely protected.

Postal privatization is changing the long-time structure in which a massive amount of money that Japan Post's financial arms collect from the public by tapping the government's credibility is injected into companies and organizations where retired bureaucrats hold plum jobs.

However, the Japan Post group, which is fully sponsored by the government, still wields the power to collect funds with the implicit state guarantee.

It is essential to sell all the stock of Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co. for a complete privatization that will not allow a government-sponsored megabank and insurance company to remain intact and weigh on the business of private companies.


Lingering concerns

However, concerns linger that the management of these two companies after they are fully privatized might decide to terminate financial services in underpopulated communities.

We think it better not to require these companies to offer nationally unified financial services because that would restrict their freedom of management. But by the same token, some policy measures will be needed to prevent the emergence of communities where no financial services are provided.

Shortcomings in the postal service network also must be fixed.

After privatization, some post offices that were not directly operated by the government were temporarily closed.

Although the number of these post offices has been arrested with the hike in fees Japan Post pays to entrust its services to agricultural cooperatives and other organizations, about 300 post offices remain shuttered. Surely something more can be done to improve this situation.

DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama, prime minister in waiting, said he would continue to demand the resignation of Japan Post Holdings Co. President Yoshifumi Nishikawa, whose management responsibility has been brought into question over a series of scandals, including an aborted attempt to sell the Kampo no Yado resort inn network.

Disruptions to postal services caused by privatization--including its management system--must be ironed out.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 11, 2009)
(2009年9月11日01時14分 読売新聞)

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3党連立合意 日米同盟の火種とならないか

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 10, 2009)
Coalition deal could shake alliance with U.S.
3党連立合意 日米同盟の火種とならないか(9月10日付・読売社説)

A major hurdle has finally been cleared for the launching of a new coalition cabinet under Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama, as the DPJ, the Social Democratic Party and People's New Party on Wednesday reached an agreement to form a coalition.

Their policy agreement comprises 10 items, including a freeze on the consumption tax rate and a drastic review of postal-related services.

Regarding diplomatic and security issues, which were sticking points in talks for forming the coalition, the agreed document includes a review of the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and the role of U.S. bases in Japan, as well as a proposal to revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, all of which were requests by the SDP. The DPJ had been reticent about including these pledges in the agreement, but it ended up conceding after the PNP sided with the SDP.

The new administration, however, could find itself tied to the specific wording of the document, and could hamper its relations with the United States. This could cause problems in the future.


Relocation plan already set

The U.S. government has said it will not renegotiate with Japan over a plan, agreed by both governments, to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture. Though the prefectural government is calling for minor amendments, it has accepted the relocation plan within the prefecture as it has placed priority on an early return of the U.S. air base to Japan.

Is it really responsible for the government to call for a review of the relocation plan, which both the United States and local governments already have accepted, without offering any realistic alternatives? This also could damage the relationship of trust underlying the Japan-U.S. security alliance.

Such important issues as foreign and security policy affect the very foundation of the nation, and the DPJ must not concede these points so easily to the SDP out of concerns that not conceding could affect the cohesion of the coalition government.

On the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, the SDP dropped its demand for the immediate withdrawal of the mission. But the DPJ still has no intention to extend the mission beyond its expiration in mid-January.

As alternatives to the refueling mission, the DPJ is considering such measures as increased humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Afghanistan.

But physical support in the form of MSDF personnel and financial support to Afghanistan should be seen as "two wheels on the same cart." Putting an end to physical support would be a big step backwards for Japan's international cooperation activities. The DPJ should reconsider the planned end of the MSDF mission.


Unbalanced influence?

During talks for forming the coalition, the three parties agreed to set up a consultation body of party leader-level cabinet members rather than a policy consultation body of the ruling parties as proposed by the SDP.

The agreement is a compromise between the SDP, which wants to secure a say in the administration, and the DPJ, which intends to establish a system to unify decision-making functions in the cabinet without the involvement of ruling parties.

The worry is that the SDP and PNP might choose to stick to their guns on certain issues just to make their presence felt. This would certainly shake the DPJ-led administration. Indeed, there have been a number of coalition governments in the past in which junior partners have exerted control over the main coalition partner.

The SDP has emphasized an "equal" partnership among the three parties. But this concept lacks merit, given that the DPJ won 308 seats in the House of Representatives election compared with seven for the SDP and three for the PNP.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 10, 2009)
(2009年9月10日01時08分 読売新聞)







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CO2削減目標 25%のハードルは高過ぎる

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 9, 2009)
DPJ's goal of 25% cut in emissions too ambitious
CO2削減目標 25%のハードルは高過ぎる(9月9日付・読売社説)

How will the nation's new government build a fair framework to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, making use of lessons learned from the Kyoto Protocol? The new administration's ability to handle this matter will come under close scrutiny.

Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama said in a speech Monday that the nation's midterm target would be to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Hatoyama said he would announce the plan at the climate change summit at the United Nations later this month.

With a view to the post-Kyoto Protocol agreement for which the negotiation deadline is the end of this year, Hatoyama urged other major countries to agree on ambitious reduction targets. He said such an accord among all major countries will be a precondition for Japan's new pledge to the international community.

We believe it was quite right for Hatoyama to have said that the nation would start tackling the 25 percent reduction target only after all the major greenhouse gas emitters, including the United States and China--the world's two largest greenhouse gas producers, make efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

As for convincing the world's major countries to participate in efforts to address global warming, however, Hatoyama himself must press other countries to take action through summit meetings and other occasions. In particular, he has to persuade China, which has refused to shoulder any numerical emission-reduction obligations, in cooperation with other industrialized countries.


Hatoyama overreaching

Above all, is the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels an appropriate target? Hatoyama's proposal is expected to fuel debate across Japan. The proposal translates into a 30 percent emission cut compared with 2005 levels, far higher than the reduction goals set by the United States and the European Union of 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Because the target is expected to require strict regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, the proposal has drawn strong objections from the industrial sector, mainly out of concerns that it would have an adverse effect on the economy.

According to a projection by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso, the country's households will end up having to spend 360,000 yen more a year for the country to meet the 25-percent reduction goal.

Once Hatoyama announces the plan at the U.N. meeting, it is highly likely to become the minimum reduction goal to be imposed in an international accord that will take the place of the Kyoto Protocol. The new government is advised to avoid having the plan become Japan's international pledge at this stage, when no domestic agreement has yet been reached.


Effect difficult to gauge

What kind of impact will the plan have on people's livelihoods? Hatoyama must thoroughly explain this point to the public first.

In the case of the 25 percent reduction target, it remains unclear how much will be reduced through domestic efforts.

Currently, Japan has been finding it difficult to achieve the Kyoto Protocol goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. In order to make up for shortfalls to meet the target, the government plans to purchase emissions quotas from other countries. The amount of emissions quotas to be purchased is said to total about 200 billion yen.

Such an ill-advised policy must not be repeated in the framework of the post-Kyoto Protocol agreement.

Hatoyama stated that industrialized countries should provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries striving to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy-saving technology that has been developed and fostered in Japan will serve as important tools to help the entire world cut greenhouse gas emissions.

What Japan has to do is not set a high reduction goal, but contribute by helping other countries slash emissions through realistic measures.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 9, 2009)
(2009年9月9日01時13分 読売新聞)

新内閣骨格人事 政権引き継ぎを円滑に進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 8, 2009)
Smooth transfer of power essential
新内閣骨格人事 政権引き継ぎを円滑に進めよ(9月8日付・読売社説)

The main lineup of the new cabinet in the administration of incoming Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has been decided. Preparations need to be expedited so that the transfer of power can be smoothly realized in the launch of the new administration next week.

Democratic Party of Japan Acting President Naoto Kan will be appointed state strategy minister, a post to which DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama attaches the greatest importance. Party Secretary General Katsuya Okada and Hirofumi Hirano, head of the DPJ executives' secretariat, will assume the posts of foreign minister and chief cabinet secretary, respectively. DPJ Supreme Adviser Hirohisa Fujii is expected to be named finance minister.

The new cabinet is expected to tackle a number of difficult problems, but the business of governing the country requires constant effort and attention. Because the new cabinet is expected to include many who have no cabinet experience, there are both expectations of and anxieties about the incoming administration.

Because the sources of revenue to fund the child allowance program and other new policies still remain uncertain, how will the new government compile the fiscal 2010 budget while paying attention to economic stimulus measures? How will it deal with the U.N. General Assembly and the Group of 20 financial summit scheduled for later this month?

To minimize confusion after its launch, the new cabinet needs to make effective use of the run-up period prior to the special Diet session on Sept. 16 and coordinate policies both within the party and with other parties.


Setting priorities

It is important to closely examine the party's election pledges and prioritize them on the basis of how urgent the need is for their implementation.

It will not be acceptable for the new government to waste time in setting up new organs, such as the national strategy bureau that will be under the direct control of the prime minister, and reviewing the rules governing the interaction between policymakers and bureaucrats, consequently delaying the undertaking of the cabinet's essential tasks.

It is desirable for the new government to hold detailed discussions to the greatest extent possible not only on personnel affairs concerning high-ranking government officials but also new systems and rules before it takes office.

The national strategy bureau, to be headed by Kan, will assume the role of drawing up principles for drafting the budget and charting the broad outlines of foreign policy, in addition to comprehensively coordinating policies.

The bureau will also act as the control tower for the new government to carry out the DPJ policy of ending the deference of the nation's political circles to bureaucrats.


Tackling the bureaucracy

Kan dealt with problems caused by HIV-tainted blood products as health and welfare minister in the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake (Pioneers). Subsequently, as an opposition member, he pursued various other problems, such as wasteful spending by bureaucrats and the so-called amakudari practice in which retiring high-ranking government officials take up lucrative jobs at agencies and other organizations they previously dealt with while public servants. Hatoyama decided to give the new post to Kan, apparently concluding that he is suited to reforming Kasumigaseki, the center of the country's bureaucracy.

We have no objections to "politician-led" politics and drastically cutting wasteful spending, but what is needed now is not playing to the gallery by bashing bureaucrats as opposition party members often do, but ideas and strategies to put bureaucrats under the government's control.

Okada, who is to assume the post of foreign minister, is well-versed in policy and has built personnel connections in the United States and other countries through his visits overseas. On the other hand, as he is often derided as a fundamentalist, some have voiced concerns over rigidity in his policies.

As for the new government's diplomatic policies, concerns have been expressed over Japan-U.S. relations because of the DPJ's coalition with the SDP and Hatoyama's recent op-ed piece published in The New York Times that caused a stir by expressing views that appeared to be critical of the United States.

If Japan-U.S. relations became unstable, it will cast a shadow on the Asia-oriented diplomacy the DPJ emphasizes. It will be necessary for the new government to pay careful attention to building a relationship of trust between Japan and the United States.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 8, 2009)
(2009年9月8日01時12分 読売新聞)

税制改正 財源確保に道筋をつけよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 7, 2009)
DPJ must ensure it can pay for its tax policy
税制改正 財源確保に道筋をつけよ(9月7日付・読売社説)

The imminent birth of a government led by the Democratic Party of Japan will mark the start of great changes to the nation's taxation system--changes that will directly impact our daily lives.

In its manifesto for the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election, the DPJ said it would abolish income tax deductions for spouses and dependents, and drastically review special tax exemption measures currently in place, including some corporate tax breaks.

This amounts to a de facto tax increase by the DPJ, which is trying to secure a revenue stream to finance the party's much publicized child-allowance scheme.

Simply reading the party's manifesto does not give us a clear picture of how the burden of individual households and corporations will change.

The DPJ must immediately set about deciding which parts of the current tax system should be revised, so it can provide the public with concrete details of its new tax system.


All give and no take

The DPJ will need to rake in annual revenue of 5.3 trillion yen to enable it to distribute the 26,000 yen a month per child it promised to give households with children of middle school age or younger. For the first year, the DPJ will pay out only half the allowance. The party also has stated it will not abolish the tax deductions currently in place until fiscal 2011.

In pressing ahead with its plan to introduce the child rearing allowances before abolishing some tax deductions, the party presumably has an eye on meeting its campaign promises to make sure it can claim an achievement in the run-up to next year's House of Councillors election.

However, if the party avoids asking the public to accept an increased tax burden, painful to voters, and in doing so postpones the introduction of measures that are needed to secure revenue sources it will not be able to be judged as having met its election pledges.

The abolition of deductions should be discussed when drawing up tax revisions for next fiscal year, which come at the year's end, to ensure they are ready to be introduced.

The across-the-board child-rearing allowances has come in for some criticism, with some saying the system should be income-tested. If necessary, the party should not hesitate to change the amount, the period for which it is handed out and the method by which the allowances are distributed.

There are about 300 items covered by the special tax exemption measures, and that is regarding national taxes alone. The total value of the tax breaks comes to 7.3 trillion yen.

The tax breaks were effectively introduced as temporary measures, taken to achieve such things as the promotion of certain industries, but quite a few measures were then extended despite their original purposes being fulfilled.

Indeed, it is important to review such measures to ascertain their purposes and necessity. However, the termination of even opaque measures does not guarantee that new revenue sources will immediately be created.

A good sum of income from taxes could be generated if special measures that involve the granting of large tax cuts are terminated. However, suspension of such a large tax break also will have a sizable negative impact.

Some measures were introduced to aid the socially vulnerable, such as making interest on the savings of disabled people exempt from tax, and to spur economic growth, such as tax breaks for investment in facilities by mid- and small-sized companies.

It may be necessary for the new administration to make some of the special tax measures permanent if it determines they should be maintained. The DPJ should not forcibly cancel any tax break solely on the basis of prioritizing the securing of revenues over all other considerations.


New procedure for tax changes

The DPJ also plans to change the mechanism by which tax system revisions are made. Until now, the government's Tax Commission and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on Tax System concurrently have been steering tax-related policies. The DPJ is to integrate the works under a new governmental tax panel to be created within the government. The new tax commission most likely will comprise only Diet members.

Since tax revisions will affect the interests of a wide array of people and companies, the DPJ must listen extensively to concerns and demands of as many of the concerned parties as possible.

If the new government already only has a few months left to study and decide on its tax system revisions for next fiscal year. As soon as prime minister-in-waiting Yukio Hatoyama launches his new cabinet, he must pull it into shape and ensure it gets straight to work on the matter.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 7, 2009)
(2009年9月7日01時18分 読売新聞)

公明党敗北 出直しに与党経験を生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 6, 2009)
For New Komeito a time to reflect, rebuild
公明党敗北 出直しに与党経験を生かせ(9月6日付・読売社説)

The two highest-ranking members of New Komeito--its leader and secretary general--lost their seats in last Sunday's House of Representatives election, marking the most crushing defeat for the party since its foundation.

It should now calmly examine the causes of its defeat and learn lessons from it for its renewal.

All eight Komeito candidates fielded in single-seat constituencies lost their seats and the party won 21 seats in the proportional representation section of the election, which is fewer than the 25 seats it gained in the 1967 lower house election, the first lower house poll in which Komeito participated. It is no exaggeration to say the party is now facing its greatest crisis.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, chairman of the party's Policy Research Council, is expected to become the new party leader. What he and the new leadership must do first is rebuild the party ahead of the House of Councillors election next summer.


Tied to falling LDP

There is no doubt that the resounding defeat of Komeito--which has a solid support base in lay buddhist organization Soka Gakkai--is due to the strong headwind of voter dissatisfaction that blew against the Liberal Democratic Party. Komeito was effectively toppled with its coalition partner.

Komeito garnered about 8.05 million votes in the proportional representation section of the election, about 700,000 to 900,000 votes fewer than it achieved in the previous two polls. The party's defeat may also be attributed to the fact that the party was not able to collect many votes cast by supporters of the LDP this time.

Moreover, it is undeniable that the election result was partly due to the fact that Komeito was tarred with the same brush as the scandal-hit LDP. Komeito was unable to promote itself as a unique party, finding that it had slowly been cast into oblivion over the past decade spent as the LDP's junior coalition partner.

Komeito apparently had some problems in deciding on its policies. For example, the party always took a reluctant stance toward the utilization of the Self-Defense Forces at key moments, including the Afghan and Iraq wars launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, because they succumbed to the deep-rooted "nonmilitarism and peace" orientation of Soka Gakkai members.

It was Komeito that took the initiative in realizing the flat-sum cash benefit program on which the administration of Prime Minister Taro Aso spent a hefty 2 trillion yen. However, the program has had a limited effect in terms of stimulating the economy and was criticized as pork-barreling.

During the final stage of the administration of former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, senior Komeito members made remarks that could be construed as calling for Fukuda to be replaced. Some observers also have pointed out that Komeito grew conceited due to its increased influence over the LDP it achieved through vital support it gave the LDP in elections.

On the other hand, the experience gained by Komeito during its time in the LDP-Komeito coalition must surely be a valuable asset. Previously in perpetual opposition as a force that only criticized the ruling party, Komeito's time in power has made it aware of the political responsibilities of a ruling party, and has given it experience in planning and implementing realistic policies and formulating foreign and national security policies from a global standpoint.


Avoid cozying up to DPJ

We hope Komeito will rebuild itself by studying and drawing on its experiences as a ruling coalition party, which are formed of both good and bad aspects.

Komeito likely will adopt an issue-by-issue stance toward the Democratic Party of Japan, but it must avoid the foolish act of snuggling up to the new administration without first considering its policies.

Komeito must act with courage in taking policies to the public, even if they might cause an increased burden, and convince them of the need for hard-to-sell policies rather than pandering to populism.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 6, 2009)
(2009年9月6日01時21分 読売新聞)

小沢民主幹事長 試される鳩山代表の統率力

Yomiuri Shinbun より抜粋

副大臣、vice ministers,
政務官、parliamentary secretaries,
大臣補佐官、advisers to ministers
secretary general、 幹事長


The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 5, 2009)
Ozawa will test Hatoyama's mettle
小沢民主幹事長 試される鳩山代表の統率力(9月5日付・読売社説)

Acting Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa is set to become the party's secretary general, a crucial position at the heart of the administration to be inaugurated under prime minister in waiting Yukio Hatoyama.

Hatoyama, who is DPJ president, has been at pains to explain that he appointed Ozawa because he guided the DPJ to a landslide victory in the House of Representatives election Sunday.
"We managed to win more than 300 seats thanks to Acting President Ozawa," Hatoyama said.

Of course, this cannot be the only reason for his appointment.

Hatoyama apparently plans to put Ozawa in charge of the DPJ campaign for next summer's House of Councillors election so the party can snatch a single-party majority in the upper house and form an administration that can hold sway over both chambers of the Diet.

The DPJ has grown into a political juggernaut holding a total of nearly 420 seats in the upper and lower houses. Hatoyama seems to believe that he needs the influence and experience of Ozawa, who once served as secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, to ensure all the members of the big party keep pulling in the same direction.

However, Ozawa's appointment as DPJ secretary general also has raised some concerns in the political arena.


New kids on the block

The ranks of Ozawa supporters within the DPJ have swollen with the arrival of dozens of rookie candidates--dubbed "Ozawa kids" because he managed their nominations and campaign preparations--in the last election. Some observers have suggested Ozawa could end up wielding too much influence over the management of party affairs.

Under LDP-led governments, the party held more influence over policy decisions than the administration did. However, the DPJ wants to reverse this balance and give more power to the envisaged administration.

However, achieving this goal will be no easy feat if Ozawa, who is a top party official but not a member of the envisaged cabinet, throws his weight around on policy decisions.

Hatoyama quoted Ozawa as saying during their talks Thursday night that he would not, in principle, be involved in making policy decisions since the government is supposed to do that.

Ozawa's remark about his "nonintervention in policy decisions" emboldened Hatoyama enough to tell reporters that Ozawa's appointment would not create a dual system of power. But we have doubts about whether this will really be the case.


DPJ must stay united

Hatoyama said a total of about 100 lawmakers would be allocated to government ministries and agencies as ministers, vice ministers, parliamentary secretaries, advisers to ministers and in other positions so the government can be the sole arbiter of policy decisions.

However, policies drafted by such lawmakers cannot be implemented unless they are written up as bills and pass both Diet chambers. Enacting bills requires the cooperation of the party--including the secretary general, who has responsibility over Diet affairs as part of party management.

Hatoyama has a responsibility to exercise firm leadership to keep Ozawa on a short leash so he does not run away with the party.

Meanwhile, preparations for the transition of power are running late. Even a brief intermission is impermissible in politics. Hatoyama should choose his lineup of key ministers as soon as possible.

Ozawa has been criticized in the past for his attitude and high-handed behavior, such as missing important meetings or refusing to provide detailed explanations. Ozawa will have to correct his ways if he is to become secretary general of the nation's largest party.

Now, more than ever, Ozawa will need to offer greater accountability over the scandal involving illicit donations from Nishimatsu Construction Co. that eventually led to the indictment of his government-funded secretary.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 5, 2009)
(2009年9月5日01時16分 読売新聞)






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01 あいさつ
02 別れのあいさつ
03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
06 聞き直すとき
07 相手の言うことがわからないとき
08 うまく言えないとき
09 一般的なあいづち
10 よくわからないときの返事
11 強めのあいづち
12 自分について述べるとき
13 相手のことを尋ねるとき
14 頼みごとをするとき
15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
16 許可を求めるとき
17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
21 急いでもらいたいとき
22 待ってもらいたいとき
23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

01 あいさつ
02 別れのあいさつ
03 声をかけるとき
04 感謝の言葉と答え方
05 謝罪の言葉と答え方
06 聞き直すとき
07 相手の言うことがわからないとき
08 うまく言えないとき
09 一般的なあいづち
10 よくわからないときの返事
11 強めのあいづち
12 自分について述べるとき
13 相手のことを尋ねるとき
14 頼みごとをするとき
15 申し出・依頼を断るとき
16 許可を求めるとき
17 説明してもらうとき
18 確認を求めるとき
19 状況を知りたいとき
20 値段の尋ね方と断り方
21 急いでもらいたいとき
22 待ってもらいたいとき
23 日時・場所・天候を尋ねるとき
24 その他

01 雨の日にも傘をささないタイ人
02 勉強熱心なタイ人女性たち
03 タイ人は敬謙な仏教徒
04 タイの市場
05 タイの食堂
06 タイ人は外食が大好き
07 果物王国タイランド
08 タイ人の誕生日
09 タイの電話代は高い
10 微笑みの国タイランド



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