Three More Japanese Politicians Quit as Nuclear issues fracture DJP

Three more sitting Diet members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) have announced they are leaving the party, not over the consumption tax hike bill that led to the defection of former leader Ichiro Ozawa and his followers, but over the government’s decision to restart nuclear reactors.

“If the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says it will take responsibility for the restarts, then we want the government to take responsibility for stabilizing the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reactors as well,” said House of Councillors member Kuniko Tanioka at a July 17 news conference. “The administration’s use of the word ‘responsibility’ is altogether too flippant.”

The departure of Tanioka and fellow upper house members Yasue Funayama and Kuniko Koda points to smoldering differences within the DPJ not just over the tax hike bills passed by the House of Representatives against stiff opposition from the Ozawa camp, but over the issue of nuclear power in Japan.

Tanioka and Funayama had long made plain their opposition to reactor restarts, as they both joined a June 11 protest in front of the prime minister’s office against the reactivation of two idled reactors at the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture — restarts green-lit by Noda. On July 17, all three Diet members cited the Noda administration’s refusal to accept their plea to keep the Oi reactors offline as the reason for leaving the DPJ.

The departure of the three lawmakers would knock the DPJ’s upper house caucus down to 88 members, and just three more defections would leave the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party as the most numerous in the chamber. As the speaker of the upper house is traditionally a member of the largest party in the chamber, the DPJ could very well lose its hegemony over the management of Diet affairs.

Regarding the rash of recent defections, DPJ Secretary-General Azuma Koshiishi told a July 17 news conference, “I wonder if each of these (defectors) truly understands that they could destroy this administration even before it can put its case to the public (in the next general election),” revealing internal fears that the DPJ-led government could in fact fall.

Tanioka, Funayama and Koda were first elected in 2007, when Ichiro Ozawa was DPJ leader, and will all face re-election campaigns next summer. Though they arrived on the political scene under Ozawa’s stewardship, Koda said that they “have no plans to join Ozawa’s new party.” Instead, they will join one other non-DPJ member of the upper chamber to form a new faction called Midori no Kaze (Green wind).

However, the three’s opposition to both the consumption tax increase and nuclear power does put them in agreement with Ozawa, and they could yet cooperate with the latter’s party’s efforts to overthrow the DPJ-led government.

In related news, DPJ lower house member Hirosato Nakatsugawa also submitted his resignation from the party on July 18.

July 18, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

One Response to “Three More Japanese Politicians Quit as Nuclear issues fracture DJP”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Hopefully Ex PM Kan can join with these Leaders and provide the huge numbers of Japanese that are against nuclear with a NON-NUCLEAR “choice” of Government in Japan before it is too late, i.e. yet another Fukushima type Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster…

    It is time that Leaders everywhere stop living in Nuclear Denial* and or because of Nuclear Payback**


    The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!


    Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

    Liked and Tweeted…

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