Thursday, November 08, 2007

LDP and DPJ Collaborate to Raise Minimum Wage; Other Legislation in the Pipeline

Even as the Fukuda-Ozawa Grand-Coalition Summit (engineered by ex-Prime Minister Mori and Yomiuri Pharaoh Watanabe, though Yomiuri subscribers will never read about that) fell through and Ichiro Ozawa did his now-you-see-me, now-you-don't act, and I went on about the DPJ's need to look reasonable and responsible, the LDP and DPJ continued work on a number of legislative initiatives, one of which on 6 November produced an agreement to amend the Minimum Wage Act. Other bills, including one that expands housing assistance for victims of disasters, are in the works.

Nobody wants to be the spoiler. The ruling coalition and the DPJ will continue their bipartisan efforts on the little things, and the budget will take care of itself. (The Lower House prevails automatically.) The JMSDF refueling bill is the only sure candidate for a supermajority override as of now.

What, then, will be the real test of the ability of the two sides to work together? The tax bill for one, particularly the time-limited measures that come due next fiscal year.

The DPJ has more to prove, and consequently the narrower margin of error. Trust Mr. Ozawa and the rest of the DPJ leadership to give up all thoughts of an early snap election.

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