Thursday, November 15, 2012

What The Editors Are Saying About The Dissolution Pledge

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

- W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming" (1920)
As regards the Prime Minister's decision to dissolve the Diet on November 16, with an election on December 16:

Yomiuri Shimbun: Supports the Prime Minister's decision despite the lack of a legal map of electoral districts. Admits that producing a proper map would take months. (Link - J)

Mainichi Shimbun: The editors declare that they want to value (hyoka suru) the prime minister's decision highly. Do not explain the choice of "want" instead of "do." Ignores the constitutional issues, frets that not even the minimal +0/-5 bill can be passed in time for the dissolution. (Link - J)

The Asahi Shimbun: Finds the decision unavoidable (yamu o enai suru mono to) then explains at length how it will produce a Diet of suspect legitimacy. (Link - J)

Nihon Keizai Shimbun: Shows umbrage at the prime minister's having not heretofore honored his August 8 promise to Tanigaki Sadakazu to dissolve the Diet soon. Applauds Abe Shinzo for having made the tough decision to promise to examine a cut in the number of at large seats in the Diet session, in return for voting for the +0/-5 bill that the LDP itself submitted (that's courage?). Calls the passage of the minimal +0/-5 bill a surety (tanpo) for reforms to be carried out later. Concludes with an attack on the unkept promises of the DPJ's 2009 electoral manifesto. (Link - J)

Sankei Shimbun: Like the Mainichi Shimbun, wants to to value the prime minister's decision highly. It furthermore wishes to do "forthrightly" (sochoku ni). Does not mention the constitutionality issue or the +0/-5 bill even once. The constitution is mentioned only in a plea to make revision of the constitution one of the banners parties hold aloft in the election campaign. (Link)

Akahata: pending (no link)

Tokyo Shimbun: The longest editorial, running from top to bottom of the broadsheet. Is torn that the story it imagined -- that Noda and his Cabinet forced to resign for having gone back on DPJ promises to not raise the consumption tax without taking the decision to the voters -- is not what is happening. Instead is filled with a sense of dread at this forced rush into an election without the major constitutional problems having been fixed. Asks what the prime minister thinks he is doing forcing an election when the value of votes in the various districts remains apportioned unfairly. (Link)


Here is what the newspaper editors are really saying:

Yomiuri: Sure it's illegal. We don't care; our guys have the votes to pass the +0/-5 bill. Neither the emperor (who holds the right to dissolve the Diet, but defers to the wishes of the prime minister) nor the Supreme Court will lift a finger to stop us!

Mainichi We want an election because...we do not know why. We just want to have it. Can we have one?

The Asahi Shimbun I am appalled but I feel a sense of ennui coming on...

Nihon Keizai Shimbun All the important decisions that have been left alone to fester, they will all be dealt with in the near future. We are sure of this and so should you be. Noda Yoshihiko and the DPJ are liars, which is much worse than breaking the law.

Akahata -- Does anyone remember the password for the computer?

Tokyo Shimbun -- This is wrong, wrong, wrong. We have attacked Noda mercilessly for the consumption tax rise. Did we go a little too far in our hobbyhorse crusade?

Later - The text has been edited to add previously unavailable information.


sigma1 said...

It is more or less daring the Supreme Court to declare itself relevant. As I have said, I am not confident it will. If Abe also engineers a CLB reinterpretation for collective self-defense, then in the space of a few months both organizations responsible for upholding the constitution in Japan will lose their credibility based on an unwillingness to defend their own prior rulings/established precedents from cynical political neglect.

wataru said...

The choice of "want" instead of "do" is merely a matter of style in the case of Japanese; don't read anything into it.