Friday, September 09, 2011

More on the Noda DPJ's Reorganization of the Policy Making Process

The English-language version of the Yomiuri Shimbun weighs in with its own version of the story I considered yesterday: the transfer of policy drafting away from the Cabinet and into the Democratic Party of Japan's revitalized Policy Research Council.

Noda maintains cautious stance / Prime minister gives more power to DPJ Policy Research Committee
Daily Yomiuri Online


Party gaining more power

The power relationship between the government and the DPJ is changing dramatically under the Noda administration: The party seems to have gained the upper hand over the government in policymaking.

On Tuesday, Noda established a council of top government and party members, an institution regarded as the administration's top decision-making body.

Among the six council members, only Noda and Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura represent the government. The other four members all represent the party. Azuma Koshiishi is the DPJ's secretary general, Seiji Maehara is the party's Policy Research Committee chairman, Hirofumi Hirano is the party's Diet Affairs Committee chairman and Shinji Tarutoko is its acting secretary general.

The party has gained a greater voice in the top decision-making body than it had under Kan. Under the Kan administration, the number of Cabinet ministers and top party members in his top decision-making body were about the same. Some members even spoke at the body's meetings from a middle ground, such as Koichiro Gemba, who under Kan served concurrently as state minister for national policy and the party's Policy Research Committee chairman.

The DPJ's Policy Research Committee has already gained further power under the Noda administration. Before approving bills at a Cabinet meeting, the government now must put the bills to the committee to be examined and obtain the endorsement of the committee's chairman, Maehara, a procedure that was not required in previous administrations... (

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko has tasked State Minister for National Strategy, Economic and Fiscal Policies Furukawa Motohisa with the establishment of the "National Strategy Council." Modeled seemingly on the disbanded Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP), the new Council would presumably be offering its own policy recommendations to the government on behalf of industrial and commercial interests (ja).

Interestingly, Furukawa suggested today that members of the DPJ leadership have seats in the National Strategy Council (ja) -- a suggestion perfectly in line with the Yomiuri's contention that the party is gaining power at the expense of the government.

In the aggregate, it looks as though Noda is overseeing a rapid, in-your-face LDP-ization of the DPJ's institutional innovations.

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