Monday, February 18, 2008

Peace in our time (well, not really)

The LDP and the DPJ have come to an agreement on the process for approving candidates for positions that require HR-HC consensus. The terms of the agreement, the result of negotiations between the two parties' Kokutai chairmen, calls for separate hearings for candidates in the HR Committee on Rules and Administration and the HC Committee on Rules and Administration. Nominations will first go to a joint committee of representatives from both houses, before being submitted to the two houses.

One point of contention was the timing of the release of the records from the hearings. The LDP wanted them sealed until the end of a nominee's term. The DPJ rejected this arrangement, and the final agreement calls for the records to be released after a nominee is confirmed.

However, Yamaoka Kenji, the DPJ's representative in the talks, cautioned that this agreement does not necessarily mean that the DPJ will agree to confirm Muto Toshiro, the government's candidate for the BOJ presidency. The LDP continues to hope that the DPJ will see reason on the BOJ succession. With the new rules in place and the DPJ leadership closing ranks behind Mr. Ozawa, the DPJ will likely sign off on Mr. Muto — although it will be curious to see the hearing transcripts when they're released, especially in the HR, where Sengoku Yoshito, Ozawa rival and opponent of Mr. Muto's appointment, sits on the Rules and Administration Committee.

This agreement should be applauded: the DPJ held its ground on taking an active role in joint confirmations, the BOJ executive will probably not be vacant at a critical period in the global economy, and the two parties showed that fears of gridlock are overblown.


MTC said...

Observer -

I think that up until now the DPJ has been very successful in calling every one of the LDP's bluffs over "OMG, time's running out!"

It is hard to pull back when one is on a winning streak.

In the case of the nomination and confirmation of Mutō, however, I think the DPJ will see the wisdom of folding.

The "seperation" principle has little palpable popular support. The battle over it seems a struggle between two sets of ex-bureaucrats, now become politicians in the Diet, with inflation to seeming relevance provided by otherwise unemployable media fluffers.

Japan's not having an orderly transition between governors of the central bank would provoke serious international disruption. The business community wiould also go bananas if the DPJ's intrasigence over what is on the face of it a highly irrational and prejudicial stance leads to Japan's losing prestige in international financial circles.

Japan Observer said...

Oh, I agree completely. I think they'll make him jump through a hoop or two in hearings, but that'll be it.