Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hey, I’ve Got an Idea, Why Don’t We All Sit Out the Revote?

Do you remember Ichiro Ozawa, the head of the DPJ, being raked over the coals for skipping the House of Representatives revote on the bill that allowed the JMSDF to resume its refueling operations and going off to campaign for the DPJ gubernatorial candidate in Osaka, and Yukio Hatoyama had to make some lame excuse to the media? This time, on the revote for the gasoline tax surcharge, they’re all sitting it out. This time, Mr. Hatoyama claims that “to take the lack of a vote [in the House of Councilors after 60days] and deem it a vote down is an act of violence that leads to the argument that the House of Councilors is unnecessary”.

Did Mr. Hatoyama forget what happened at the end of the 2007-2008 extraordinary Diet session? Did Mr, Hatoyama forget the Japanese Constitution?

As if. See, if everybody’s offside, then nobody’s offside.

Mr. Hatoyama has found an ingenious way to keep the DPJ players in line. I guess we’ll have to wait till autumn to see which LDP and DPJ Diet members cross the aisles on the gasoline taxes.

ADD: It’s almost 11 PM, and I still don’t see this in the mainstream media. Have I scooped them all, KNC?


MTC said...

okumura-san -

When you write "See, if everybody’s offside, then nobody’s offside." you have captured the essence of the difference the battle over the extension of the Indian Ocean deployment and the fight over the reimposition of this tax.

In the earlier case, the stated reasons for opposing the Indian Ocean deployment were opaque and seemed to make sense to Ozawa alone. The rest of his party just had to go along with the old man's strategy. That is what made his skipping out at the last moment so infuriating.

This time around, everyone knows why the DPJ leadership and most of the DPj rank-and-file oppose the reimposition of the gasoline tax. Boycotting sessions en masse is also a recognized form of Diet protest. That opposition members chose to boycott the session was a reasonable response to an unreasonable approach to lawmaking.

Jun Okumura said...

I am of course aware that the DPJ leadership is blaming the LDP for the boycott. But Ozawa is no longer an LDP member, and some of the DPJ leadership and most of its rank-and-file never were. If there is an unreasonable approach to lawmaking in all this, it has been bipartisan.

The DPJ not only boycotted the session but prefaced it with old-school strongarm tactics reminicent of the WWE-esque LDP-Socialist matches of yore. I don't think that's a reasonable approach to lawmaking, nor have the DPJ been blameless in contrast to the LDP over the last 60 days. The desire, the need for change is one thing; to exonerate the opposition or overlook its own shortcomings because of it is totally another. Substnace and procedure are two different things.

The DPJ (and the Socialists)could do what it did because they correctly saw the gasoline taxes as a far more evocative issue than the refueling operation. It obviously figured greatly in their calculations. (I should have given that as the context; I BUIed--I rarely do that, and really shoudn't.) But I stand by my undocumented accusation that the decision was driven by the need to close ranks.