The Upper House election is expected to be held July 11, with half of the chamber’s seats up for grabs. Political parties would do well to keep in mind an ideal held by many voters: The Upper House should not operate like a second Lower House, where partisan interests take precedence over everything, but rather a place where individual lawmakers have greater freedom to develop and revise bills so that a wider range of perspectives can be reflected.
Politicians should also strive to strictly uphold a fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy: Each lawmaker must uphold the trust voters placed in him or her. Former farm minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, violated this principle when he pushed not only his voting button but that of another LDP Upper House member who was not present in a March 31 plenary session. Mr. Wakabayashi resigned from the Upper House on April 2, a self-imposed punishment that should serve as a warning for all politicians.
Democratic Party of Japan leader Mr. Ichiro Ozawa is trying to field two DPJ candidates in two-seat Upper House constituencies, to monopolize the seats in these districts and also to increase votes for the DPJ in proportional representation districts. As such, he decided to have a DPJ lawmaker leave the Lower House and run in the Kyoto Upper House constituency in the coming election.
This move is problematic. The lawmaker in question was elected to the Lower House in August from the Kinki proportional representation district, in which the DPJ won some 4.73 million votes. His leaving the Lower House means the district will have one less representative, an outcome that will understandably upset many voters.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democratic Party plans to have former Lower House members who were defeated in the August election run in the Upper House election. This is merely an easy way to come to the political rescue of the politicians. The LDP instead should field fresh candidates, not ones that voters have recently rejected.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.