Sunday, April 15, 2007

Legislative happenings

In the shadow of the passage of the national referendum bill by the Lower House, the Abe Cabinet managed to push another bill through the Lower House, over active DPJ opposition: the bill supporting the advance of the realignment of US forces in Japan, which calls for increasing responsibility for realignment to local communities and budgeting money for the relocation of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam (as outlined in the May 2006 agreement).

Unlike the national referendum bill, which was initially intended to be the product of cooperation between the DPJ and the LDP, the DPJ has actively opposed this bill, based on concerns about the lack of transparency in the total sum involved and how it will be spent.

Lower House DPJ member Nagashima Akihisa articulates opposition to the bill in this post. He demands more deliberation on the bill, and urging the government to hold the US accountable for plans surrounding the relocation to Guam. He suggests that in light of growing inequality in Japan, the money Japan will be paying to the US could be better spent elsewhere.

It's worth a read, for a look at how one DPJ member thinks the DPJ can distinguish itself on policy terms in advance of this summer's Upper House elections.

No comments: