DPJ proposes public works watchdog

The Democratic Party of Japan submitted a bill to the Diet on May 30 to establish a monitoring system for public works projects to improve their cost-effectiveness. DPJ coleader Yukio Hatoyama said the bill was formulated in response to the nation’s worsening fiscal crisis.

It was compiled at a time when the second largest opposition party is strongly demanding the government review a reclamation project in Isahaya Bay, Nagasaki Prefecture.

The DPJ has claimed that the 230 billion yen reclamation project, which was mapped out 45 years ago to create more land for agriculture, has lost its original purpose due to considerable socioeconomic changes, and now the country does not have sufficient number of farmers to cultivate existing farm land. The DPJ has also compiled a set of three bills to improve the transparency of the nation’s fiscal situation, DPJ policymaker Yoshito Sengoku said May 30.

The bills, which are intended to revise three current laws related to annual budget plans, government subsidies and national properties, would require bureaucrats to submit to the Diet more detailed, relevant information so that lawmakers can better decide how to allocate taxpayer money.

The DPJ has worked out the bills in an apparent attempt to convince the public that the party is working to make sure that taxpayer money is spent properly. But due to its weak presence in the Diet, there is almost no possibility the bills will be enacted.