Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Waning support for the anti-terror law

A survey conducted by Yomiuri over the weekend asked whether it is "appropriate" for the government to use its two-thirds majority to pass the new anti-terror special measures bill over an Upper House rejection of the bill.

Consistent with other recent polls, the results were decidedly tepid. 43% favored playing the supermajority card, 44% opposed. Meanwhile, support for the refueling mission narrowed, with 45% of respondents saying they support it, 43% saying they oppose it. In other words, support for the refueling mission has gone the wrong direction for the LDP during this marathon Diet session, which could run even longer now that the LDP and Komeito have agreed on a one-month extension to ensure the final dispatch of this albatross bill. And support is far short of Yamasaki Taku's two-thirds public support threshold beyond which the government could comfortably use its supermajority.

At the same time, the poll also recorded a slight rise in support for the LDP and a five-point drop in DPJ support, which probably doesn't mean that much coming from Yomiuri.

There's something farcical about this whole thing. Prime Minister Fukuda is now determined to see this issue through to the finish, even if the public is indifferent or opposed (and despite Mr. Fukuda's noticeable lack of enthusiasm about the bill). The DPJ has put off submitting its own proposal for the duration of the Diet session.

If by the end of the session the new bill passes, I'm certain that Washington alone will be pleased with the outcome. Enjoy it while it lasts, because I don't think there's a chance that the Fukuda government — provided there still is a Fukuda government in a year's time — would bother renewing the law when it expires after a year.

3 comments:

Andrew Oplas said...

The Japanese public is clearly ambivalent, and they will tire of this as an issue.

From my perspective, this is farcical not because of the Prime Minister's position, but rather Ichiro Ozawa's. He has drawn a line in the sand to fight the LDP on this issue, though it is not clear at all that his own party has any consensus on the mission or the legislation. If the DPJ wants a new, independent foreign policy...not subservient to Bush's America... well, why not choose a fight in the sand in which your argument carries more weight??

The only consensus in the DPJ is that they want to fight the LDP. I hate to say it - but it seems their only purpose right now is to obstruct. They look like a textbook example of a party to immature to govern. Is it any wonder that the public wonders about the DPJ's gravitas and ability to take the reigns?

Also, don't be so sure that next year the government (Fukuda's or whoever else) will let this expire so easily. This bill won't be forgotten... not by the public, the LDP, DPJ, or the US Defense Department. Of course the US election could change the dynamics, but I am willing to bet that a bill, if passed, will be renewed next year and the next, if necessary...

tornados28 said...

They don't have to be Bush lapdogs in order to participate in the fight against terrorists murderers. Japan should not only continue the refueling program, they should do even more.

I am not talking about Iraq which was a horrible Bush blunder. I am talking about the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Bryce said...

I think you're making a bit too much of this poll result. The Yomiuri (strangely) has been one of the more pessimistic polls on this issue, and support for the bill has only dropped by about 5 percent since last time. To what extent does this fall within the margine of error, I wonder. In any case, Fukuda has extended the legislative session in order to ram the bill through, so the issue will probably be neutralised soon.