Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said Monday he has no intention of dissolving the House of Representatives for snap general elections at this moment.
“Now is the time when we must carry out drastic measures to address serious economic and financial problems confronting our nation. I have no intention of dissolving the house now,” Obuchi said during the day’s Lower House plenary session.
The prime minister made the remarks in response to demands from opposition parties that the chamber be dissolved on the grounds that Obuchi’s Cabinet does not reflect the will of the people.
Speaking on behalf of his own Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party) and Komei, Takenori Kanzaki said the Obuchi administration — formed solely by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and without public support — has no justifiable grounds for taking the helm.
“It is crystal clear that Prime Minister Obuchi is not the prime minister to whom the the Japanese people have truly committed,” he said, pointing to record low approval ratings in a series of opinion polls conducted by the media.
Obuchi, however, responded that he will seek public understanding for his Cabinet by putting the nation’s economy back on the recovery path within two years. With concerns mounting over the nation’s financial system, the nation’s economy is bogged down in its worst slump in decades.
During Monday’s session, Kansei Nakano, deputy chief of the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, questioned the health of the nation’s major banks, particularly the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan.
Brushing aside the concern, however, Obuchi said the nation’s 19 major banks, including LTCB, all remained sound as of the end of March. He said he was basing his statement on inspections carried out by the banks themselves and on inspections by outsiders that show none of the banks’ liabilities exceeded their assets as of the end of the previous fiscal year.
To stabilize the nation’s financial system by pushing for a drastic disposal of nonperforming loans, the Liberal Democratic Party-led government submitted a set of six bills to the current extraordinary Diet session.
The bills include those to implement the “bridge bank” plan to help liquidate failed banks without hurting healthy borrowers.
Obuchi, however, declined to specify how much public funds will be necessary to dispose of bad loans held by failed banks under the government’s proposed financial system stabilization scheme.
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