After Prime Minister Naoto Kan survived a no-confidence motion on June 2, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Katsuya Okada started calling for the formation of a grand coalition between the DPJ and the Liberal Democratic Party.
It is irresponsible of Mr. Okada to make such a call. It appears that he has forgotten the simple fact that the DPJ came to power by beating the LDP in the August 2009 Lower House election with slogans that represented a rejection of LDP politics.
Mr. Okada’s call for a grand coalition is tantamount to throwing down the drain the DPJ’s basic policy ideas enscapsulated in “People’s lives come first” and “From concrete to humans” — slogans that showed many voters a ray of hope.
Mr. Kan should step down soon to take responsibility for his administration’s slowness in stabilizing the lives of the residents of areas hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as well as those suffering from the accidents at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Nor has his administration pushed speedy reconstruction from the disasters.
Mr. Okada should realize that his inability to make constructive deals with the opposition forces since the DPJ’s defeat in the July 2010 Upper House election has led to the current political paralysis. He has stressed the need for a short-time grand coalition to push reconstruction, but there is no guarantee that a grand coalition will work well.
Mr. Okada’s call for a grand coalition seems nothing more than an attempt to varnish over his inability as DPJ secretary general to move politics forward. Control of most Diet seats by the DPJ and the LDP runs against the principle of democracy anyway.
Taking lessons from the nuclear crisis, Mr. Kan has set a new goal of generating 20 percent of Japan’s electricity from renewable resources by the early 2020s. The LDP, which had pushed nuclear power generation, could torpedo the new policy goal.
Since Mr. Kan says he will resign in the near future, the opposition is not likely to cooperate with a “lame duck.” The DPJ should follow a normal path — electing its new leader soon and letting him or her, as prime minister, announce effective reconstruction policies in a timely manner while persuading the opposition to cooperate.