--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 2
EDITORIAL: LDP should stop being so pathetic
New Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki and New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi on Sept. 1 to seek their cooperation.
The meetings attracted attention for how the opposition parties, in particular the LDP, would respond, but their reactions were very dry.
The LDP denies the "legitimacy" of the third prime minister of the DPJ administration.
That is why Tanigaki reiterated that the LDP would continue to cooperate until the third extra budget is passed the Diet and that after that, the Lower House should be dissolved as soon as possible for a snap election.
But we are afraid that that is not the right thing to do.
The crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has not been brought under control.
Efforts to recover and rebuild from the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami have yet to get on track.
Many stricken areas are still putting off local elections that had been scheduled for this spring.
We believe the ruling and opposition parties should continue to work together in compiling the budget for fiscal 2012 and accelerating rebuilding efforts.
Looking back to the time the opposition submitted a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan in the Lower House in June, Tanigaki did say: "(If Kan) resigns, there will be plenty of areas where we can join hands and transcend differences between parties."
The LDP should ponder why its public approval ratings remain low despite the fact that voters are finding the DPJ administration deeply disappointing.
Take, for example, the tripartite agreement between the DPJ, LDP and New Komeito in August.
The agreement to pass special legislation allowing the issuance of deficit-covering bonds in exchange for a review of the child-allowance and other DPJ pet projects represented a setback for the ruling party and an end to the Kan Cabinet.
The LDP could have scored a major points.
However, the LDP's tactic to use the legislation to issue deficit-covering bonds as leverage failed to win over public opinion.
This is because everybody is aware that past LDP administrations are the ones responsible for the nation's situation in which the government cannot compile a budget without borrowing a huge amount of money.
Having gone out of power, the LDP has been re-examining its policy platform and increased the number of applicants from the general public to run as LDP candidates.
But it has yet to fully sum up the misgovernment that led to the government's reliance on debts and public anxiety about public pension programs.
And it has yet to present solutions to these problems.
Even if a Lower House election is held this year, the LDP would be seen as pathetic if its greatest weapon is criticism of the DPJ's policies.
Moreover, what are LDP's stances on tax hikes, nuclear policy and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement?
Although the DPJ's intraparty strife tends to draw more public attention, the LDP, too, has similar problems.
Both the DPJ and LDP are unable to agree on uniform policies to chart Japan's future course within their own parties, so to speak.
If a Lower House election is called under such circumstances, voters would be at a loss over which party to support.
Thanks to the new administration's efforts to unite the DPJ, it seems unlikely that a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet would be passed any time soon.
At the same time, unless the opposition agrees, bills cannot be passed in the Diet.
The LDP is urged to fully engage in policy formation, taking advantage of the situation.
It should propose revisions to government-sponsored bills and submit its own legislation.
Only after the LDP appeals itself as a party that made a fresh start can it open a new chapter in its history.