First up, the unaccountable Osaka High Court adjudicating the Hepatitis C-infected blood products case accepted the government's risible offer to the Hepatitis C sufferers, a plan that would limits those compensated to those who received the tainted products in between August 1985 and June 1988 - the narrowest window of responsibility recognized by any of the courts with Hepatitis C cases in its docket.
What an absolutely fabulous way to win hearts and minds, your honors, trying to drive wedges between desperately ill people, offering hope and treatment only to some of them--or none at all for all of them. Chim, chim, chirree!
The plaintiffs, demanding equal treatment for all sufferers, rejected the court's selection, cursing the health ministry and the government.
Yes, your honors. That is what I call a fine wakai (Eng: "amiable settlement") just like the one you ordered.
Next came a segment on the extension of the current extraordinary Diet session in order to pass the anti-terror special measures law.
Too much has been said about that already.
Everything is set up to extend the current session to January 15. Giri giri? You bet. The next day, the 16th, is the Democratic Party national convention. The day after that is the LDP's national convention. An the day after that? The first day of the 2008 regular Diet session!
Finally, Tsushima Yūji's tax commission released its long-awaited (long-feared?) recommendations for new tax legislation...and holy moly, it looks like just about every single possible bad idea was waved on.
- An approval of a rise the consumption tax to pay for increasing retirement and health costs...but with no set date when this rise is supposed to take place and no indication how much the rise is going to be
- Approval of the transfer of corporate tax revenues from the cities to the countryside--without any explanation as to the point of the exercise or if it is ever going to end
- Approval of the furusato nōzei plan, allowing taxpayers to send 10% of their local residence tax to their hometowns (Gosh, is that ever going to be easy to administer and police!)
- Offering no changes to the way the receipts from highway funds are handled (the DPJ wants the receipts to go into the general fund)
Would you believe Tsushima and Co. expects the Diet to pass the necessary enabling legislation during the 2008 regular Diet session?
Heck, even Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo looked bad today. He sweated his way through a tortured explanation of his evasive statement of last night wherein he insinuated that Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Masuzoe Yōichi's admission that the Social Insurance Agency will
a) miss its self-imposed deadline of cleaning up the 50 million account backlog of lost accounts, and
b) will probably never identify the holders of about
did not constitute a breaking of the LDP's July election pledges on the subject.
"You know it's answers like yours," the PM's Democratic questioner scoffed, "that made nise the kanji of the year this year."
Later - As Fred Uleman points out in Institute of Social Science, Tokyo University's SSJ-Forum, the ultimate, unstated aim of the "voluntary" transfer of corporate taxes from Tokyo and other metropolitan areas to depressed rural areas is the guaranteeing of the reelection of the LDP candidates in the rural districts.
But you knew that...even if no one on the news said it.