I had though that yesterday morning's rushed Cabinet Decision (kakugi kettei) endorsing the Prime Minister's plan to have the proceeds from gasoline taxes shifted from road construction to the general fund in 2009 would supply sufficient political cover for the ruling coalition as it used its two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives to override the House of Councillors's rejection of the 10 year, 59 trillion yen road construction bill.
Evidently the editors of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the readers and leaders of conservative corporate opinion (and no friends of the Democratic Party of Japan, believe you me) were nevertheless unimpressed by the Cabinet's tail-covering exercise:
A spineless conversion to the general fund is impermissible
May 14, 2008
The Road Financing Special Measures bill, which retains for 10 years the special tax revenues for road construction, has been passed by the House of Representatives through use of the two-thirds majority. It has now become law. The law clearly contradicts the stated policy of Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo who promises to switch the full amount to general fund in fiscal year 2009. Having forcibly passed a bill as is without correcting it is deplorable...
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet were all smiles after the override vote...but with every victory, this impatient and innumerate ruling coalition loses more and more support.
What drives them to win the battles but lose the war?