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Japan`s Ruling Party Suffering From Internal Strife

Posted July. 02, 2010 12:52,   


A power struggle is intensifying within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan. The two factions are embroiled in conflict over internal hegemony ahead of upper house elections rather than uniting versus the Liberal Democratic Party.

Ichiro Ozawa, former chief secretary of the ruling party of Japan, was the first to launch an offensive. In his campaign speech for the elections Monday, he blasted the Kan Naoto administration for breaking a promise on a childrearing allowance, a major party pledge in last year’s general elections.

“Saying a promise cannot be kept because of lack of funds after taking power is effectively lying to the people,” Ozawa said. “One must keep a promise at any rate.”

On Kan’s suggestion to consider a 10-percent hike in excise tax, Ozawa said, "The government must consider raising the excise tax only after doing its best to cut wasteful budget spending throughout its term, but finds it cannot do so. The administration must keep its promise since the party promised to not raise taxes in last year`s general elections."

“If one does not keep promises, society will not move forward properly.”

The incumbent administration hit back at his comments. Ozawa’s successor in the Democratic Party, Yukio Edano, said, “(The cancellation of the childrearing allowance) was a matter in which the government sought public understanding due to falling tax revenues,” adding, “Insisting on the obligation to keep campaign pledges stubbornly even if the economic situation has changed is reckless populist behavior that adds to the public’s burden.”

Edano told Ozawa, “Prime Minister Kan has asked that you adequately reflect on yourself for the time being.”

Ozawa responded in a street campaign speech, saying “The party’s leadership has demanded that I keep quiet but making justified comments is a politician’s obligation,” urging the administration to keep its promise.

Amid the mounting internal feud, which was unexpected ahead of the elections, political and media analysts say Ozawa, who seeks to oust Kan in the September election for the Democratic Party chairman, has started attacking his own party’s leadership.

Others say Ozawa might be hoping for the party to lose in the upper house elections.