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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Hatoyama, Aso mix it up in Diet debate
By MASAMI ITO
Prompting cheers and jeers Wednesday in their first faceoff in the Diet, Prime Minister Taro Aso and newly elected Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama wrangled over who was best suited to lead the nation.
The two grandsons of former prime ministers are the likely candidates to lead Japan following the Lower House election, which must be held by fall.
Hatoyama stressed the need for vision in a leader.
"I have said I want to create a society of fraternity," Hatoyama said. "I used the word love. . . . The society I want to create is where people can find happiness through bonding and embrace a sense of belonging, to feel useful."
Aso brushed off Hatoyama's idea as unrealistic.
"It is a fact that we are facing a once-in-a-century recession," Aso said. "We have an endless list of real (problems) and as the party in power, what is most important for us is how we are going to deal with these problems."
Hatoyama said his party is committed to banning corporate donations and will compile a bill during the current Diet session to revise the law. Currently, companies are prohibited from making contributions to individual lawmakers but can donate to political parties and their branches.
The LDP, which largely relies on corporate donations, has expressed reluctance to adopt the proposal.
"We have come to this conclusion after searching our consciences," Hatoyama said. "Why doesn't the ruling bloc cooperate with us to tackle the problems of politics and money for the sake of the public?"
Aso parried that the DPJ is trying to shift the focus from the alleged failure of its own former president and his secretary to follow financing rules.