ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is planned to propose a policy to cut
down the number of legislators in the House of Representatives during the
current ordinary session of the Diet. The plan is to eliminate five lawmakers
in the single-seat constituencies and another 80 in the proportional
representation (PR) bloc. It is a combined policy linked with a government's
intention to heighten the consumption tax rate. The DPJ's proposal will further
alienate the Diet from people, leading the supreme organ of the state to a death.
The New Socialist Party (NSP) never accepts this policy.
REDUCTION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS, BUT CHANGE IN ELECTION SYSTEM
media are noisy with one voice, repeating that 'the first person to pay
sacrifice is a legislator so that the consumption tax rate may be surged'.
Reacting to the chorus, the DPJ has decided on a policy practically identical
with that of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the former government, to reach
a compromise. Smaller parties, however, strongly oppose the reduction policy as
their bases will be threatened.
NSP is harshly against the legislator reduction policy under the current
parallel voting system; a system of the single-seat constituency coupled with
proportional representation. It is because a half of the votes cast in a small
constituency is cut off, and that means democracy is neglected as the
minority's opinions are not respected. The PR voting bloc narrowly provides with
a stage to reflect people's will. If the number of lawmakers decreases, the
Diet will depend on distorted public opinions.
Salaries of Lawmakers
is the high time to make a drastic change in the election rules. Democracy is
thrown away now from the point of parliamentary democracy system.
Diet should be 'composed of elected lawmakers to represent people of the
nation' as Article 43 of Constitution says. If the Diet is to be well
qualified, the following conditions must be met in the minimal sense. They are
(1) a legitimate election system that reflects public opinions, (2) everyone is
free to become a candidate, and (3) political parties behave independently.
Judging from these points of view, the current election rules and the DPJ's
reduction proposal violate the constitution article.
voting system that could exactly reflect people's will is the PR system, in
which seats of smaller parties and various public opinions are concentrated.
Meanwhile, in the single-seat constituency only one candidate can win and the
votes cast in favor of other candidates below the second rank are cut off.
is another controversial point in the DPJ's proposal. It estimates the total as
only 6.1 billion Yen, in terms of the planned decrease in the salaries of
legislators and his/her three public secretaries and relevant expenses. Look at
the consumption tax rate hike by 5% to be implemented in exchange of the
decrease of lawmakers. It totals approximately 12.5 trillion Yen. That is
beyond a comparison. If the government advocates 'getting slimmed', it should
pay more attention to cutting down salaries and expenditure of legislators
rather than reducing their number.
to be a Candidate
is essential to make a great change of the Public Election Act, if everyone is
guaranteed to be a candidate regardless of a size of political party and
individual capacities. The existing rules impose on political parties and
individuals two hard, discriminatory conditions: 'requirements as a political
party' and 'deposit money'.
qualified political party must have five legislators in the Diet, or in the
most current elections it must have won 2% of votes. If the conditions are not
met, a candidate is rigorously discriminated in the TV announcement of campaign
speeches, and etc. As for deposit, a candidate must pay 6 million Yen in terms
of PR bloc and 3 million Yen in a single-seat constituency bloc. The sum is so
expensive and is rarely seen in the rest of the world. The deposit scheme must
Public Fund to Assist Political Party
grant system was established as a kind of mortgage in 1994 when political
donations were regulated from business companies and other organizations. But
this fund deteriorates the very basis of democracy. A qualified political party
is granted by tax money in accordance with the number of lawmakers: the party receives
250 Yen from every national (the Communist Party rejects to receive it).
for the LDP and DPJ, 70-80% of their finance comes from this source. They are
like a state-financed political party as they rely far more heavily on the
grant money than contributions of party members and business activities. Parties
are not obliged to disclose usage of that tax money. Today the fund is
criticized as money is spent on other activities than political ones.
controversial fund must be annulled first, if the government is ready to 'get