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Friday, July 29, 2011
DPJ leader's misdirected apology
On July 22, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Katsuya Okada handed a note to secretary generals of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, apologizing for the DPJ's failure to fully implement the campaign promises in its 2009 Lower House election manifesto.
His desperate action was aimed at getting cooperation from the LDP and Komeito to pass a bill to float government bonds to finance the fiscal 2011 initial budget. It is not only strange but also irrational and thoughtless.
In issuing the apology, Mr. Okada also made it clear that the DPJ would change the basic concept of its child allowance, and asked for the two parties' cooperation in the Diet deliberations on the bonds issuance bill.
The DPJ originally called for providing a uniform child allowance to all child-rearing families irrespective of family income levels. Now it expresses its readiness to impose an income cap on families eligible for the allowance, succumbing to a call by the LDP and Komeito.
This is a betrayal of the principle behind the DPJ's child allowance that a uniform allowance represents the whole society's will to help every child-rearing family. This also means that a main pillar of the DPJ's manifesto has collapsed.
The note of apology says that the DPJ "apologizes to all people of the nation" for its failure to accurately gauge the necessity of various policies and to study their financial feasibility.
Mr. Okada should be severely criticized for submitting an apology intended for the Japanese people to the LDP and Komeito. The LDP and Komeito also must be criticized for calling for an introduction of an income cap.
How can municipalities, which hand the child allowance to recipient families, accurately find the income levels of such families? Moreover, making municipalities' computer systems compatible with the introduction of an income cap would cause enormous trouble.
Mr. Okada would not have had to take such a servile attitude toward the LDP and Komeito if he had built constructive relations with the opposition forces. He did not make any visible efforts to that effect after the DPJ's defeat in the July 2010 Upper House election.
Within the DPJ, Mr. Okada will face severe criticism for betraying the manifesto.