Hatoyama, Kamei, Mori: Kan a goner

Budget, Diet deadlock to start taking toll on DPJ leader in March

Kyodo News

Yukio Hatoyama and two other veteran politicians think Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government will soon be undone by the fiscal 2011 budget bills and conflict in the Diet.

At a recent meeting, former Prime Minister Hatoyama of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori of the Liberal Democratic Party and Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) leader Shizuka Kamei agreed that Kan will have a tough time running the government from March because small opposition party New Komeito has become increasingly confrontational, sources said Saturday.

New Komeito’s help will be crucial in getting budget-related through the Diet, where the DPJ dominates the powerful House of Representatives and the opposition camp controls the House of Councilors.

There has been talk that the Diet will enter legislative gridlock in March and eventually force Kan to dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election.

Passing the budget and its related bills are the top priorities for the government and the Diet because fiscal 2011 begins April 1.

Despite its majority in the Lower House, the DPJ lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to override bills rejected by the Upper House, and the party is looking for help.

Kamei, whose small party fills out the ruling coalition, took the initiative in arranging the meeting, which took place at a restaurant on the night of Jan. 28.

Kamei and Mori also said that former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa’s influence would decline because of his recent indictment over accounting irregularities in reports filed by his political fundraising body, the sources said.

No Komeito help

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his top aides agreed Sunday that getting the fiscal 2011 budget bills past the divided Diet will be tough now that New Komeito has hardened its stance toward the ruling bloc, according to coalition sources.

Kan, who doubles as president of the Democratic Party of Japan, discussed the impasse with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada, acting DPJ President Yoshito Sengoku and other aides in a meeting at his residence, the sources said.

The top officials in the DPJ-led government gathered because the ruling bloc can see no clear path for enacting the bills necessary to implement the fiscal 2011 budget, even if the budget itself clears the Diet.

China panel tasked

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Naoto Kan told members of a new panel Sunday that he wants to rebuild ties with China in the wake of the spat over last fall’s maritime collisions near the disputed Senkaku Islands.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution (which is viewed as the start of China’s modernization). Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China,” Kan said. “We would like to rebuild Japan-China relations on the multiple levels of culture, economics and politics toward next year.”

It was the first meeting of the panel, which Kan set up to consult private-sector experts on the best way for deepening bilateral relations with China in the medium and long terms.

It is rare for the prime minister to form a panel devoted to issues on a specific country.

The participants at Sunday’s meeting included Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai, who headed the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) until last summer, Morio Ikeda, an adviser to Shiseido Co Ltd., and author Yoshimi Ishikawa.