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Friday, July 1, 2011

EDITORIAL

Mr. Kan's thoughtless headhunting

Following the Reconstruction Design Council's submission last weekend of proposals for the reconstruction of areas affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear disaster, Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Monday appointed Mr. Goshi Hosono, one of his aides, as minister to deal with the nuclear crisis, and made disaster management minister Ryu Matsumoto minister in charge of the reconstruction, both posts newly created.

Mr. Kan also made a move that will most likely backfire. He appointed Liberal Democratic Party Upper House member Kazuyuki Hamada as internal affairs parliamentary secretary in charge of the reconstruction.

This action will harden the LDP's attitude and make Diet deliberations on measures for the reconstruction extremely difficult. It even alienated some Democratic Party of Japan leaders, including the DPJ's Diet affairs committee chief Jun Azumi.

Clearly Mr. Kan tried to headhunt 10 or more LDP Upper House members to enable the DPJ to control the Upper House but ended up recruiting only Mr. Hamada. He should be criticized for making such a reckless move without careful preparation.

Other DPJ leaders should also be criticized for their failure to stop him from taking such a step.

On Monday, Mr. Kan also made it clear that he will not resign until the Diet passes a bill to issue deficit-covering bonds to finance the initial fiscal 2011 budget, the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2011, and a feed-in-tariff system bill to make power companies purchase all the electricity generated through renewable energy sources.

This announcement will be taken as another attempt to prolong his political life. He had announced in early June that he would step down in the near future.

The announcement could lower his trustworthiness as a national leader, creating the impression that he is only interested in staying in power.

Apparently behind his announcement is the sly calculation that the more the opposition opposes the passage of the three bills, the longer he will remain as prime minister.

Mr. Kan should be ashamed for causing political confusion as well as his inconsistency over energy policy. While he pushes the feed-in-tariff bill, he has endorsed a move to restart nuclear power plants, except the Fukushima and Hamaoka facilities.



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