On August 30, DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama issued the following statement.
At this election, the Japanese people have taken the courageous step of choosing “a change of government” and furthermore, the Democratic Party of Japan has gained an overwhelming number of seats.
As DPJ President, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the people.
At the same time, the party as a whole takes the result of this election extremely seriously and is resolved to fulfil the responsibility invested in us.
In this election, there was a direct standoff between a ruling party coalition bloc centering on the LDP and an opposition coalition bloc centering on the DPJ, an election campaign was fought between political parties with a change of government at stake, and that change of government was realised. This is the first time in the history of constitutional politics in Japan that such an event has occurred, and thus today is truly an historic day.
I don’t view this election result as simply a victory for the DPJ. I believe that the Japanese people’s overwhelming distrust in politics, their despair at the failure of the current political and administrative system, and their resulting strong anger, has manifested itself in the high voter turnout on this occasion.
In that sense, I believe that not just those who voted for the DPJ and our allied parties, but also those who cast their vote for the LDP and Komeito, did so not out of obligation, because they were asked to do so by someone else, but seriously, with the future of Japan in mind. During the forty days of the campaign this summer, it seems that many people have thought seriously about the future of Japan. If that is the case, the victors in this election and of this change of government are the Japanese people.
I believe that this historic event is significant for three reasons.
These are three “changes”.
The first is, of course, a change of government.
The negative effects caused by the effective one party rule by the LDP that has continued over many years since the war are clear.
One aspect of such a political system has been that opposition parties have lacked the will to take over the reins of government. Following this election, political parties should not engage in the kind of politics where they jostle for position and embark on negative campaigns, but instead, each party should focus on its strengths and engage in a fierce policy-based battle, developing parliamentary democracy and advancing politics for the sake of the people, thereby realising a political party system that is responsible in the true sense of the word.
The second change is a smooth transition and fusion from the old to the new.
This time, an extremely large number of new Diet members from a whole variety of backgrounds have been elected. Even if they are lacking in political experience, they will take very seriously the people’s judgement that what is needed is a change from the old system to a new one, and their desire for change, for the transformation of the political and administrative system by the injection of a fresh perspective.
The DPJ includes veterans, those in their prime and of the younger generation, both men and women, people with a variety of backgrounds and experience. We will each make our own unique contribution, to create a fusion of power that crosses generations and gender, and exert all our strength in order to realise change.
The third change is one of sovereignty.
The Japanese people have cast their votes to put an end to the bureaucratic-led politics of vested interests that has continued over many years, and in the hope that a warm-hearted and fair mode of politics that provides equal opportunities and true sovereignty for the people can be realised.
Many people recall that during the period of recovery and high economic growth after World War II a huge role was played by stout-hearted politicians and the unstinting and ceaseless efforts of bureaucrats.
We would like to consider once again for whose benefit politics and the administration exist. We must go back to square one and reconsider the relationship between the people, politicians and bureaucrats.
The DPJ must keep in mind the fact that “politician-led” does not simply mean that politicians should be superior to bureaucrats.
We will end the pattern of politicians trying to increase their own popularity by making someone else a scapegoat and engaging in “bureaucrat-bashing” or “bashing of public officials”. Instead politicians themselves should take the lead, and exert themselves to change the mindset of the bureaucrats and realise a new kind of politics that gives sovereignty to the people.
I would like DPJ Diet members not to be intoxicated by our huge victory, and to fully appreciate the significance of the Diet seat that has been granted to them by the public, without being overexcited by the sheer numbers involved.
We will be careful not to focus on party interests and tactics and getting our revenge on opposition forces, and we must not be carried away by having achieved a change of government in itself.
The DPJ takes the anger of the Japanese people and their alienation from politics very seriously indeed. We will sweep away the negative assets we have inherited, carry out a comprehensive review of the stifling political and administrative system, and put an end to political and administrative stagnation.
I believe that it is only once we have managed to achieve this that the DPJ and other political parties can start to walk the path toward victory.
Of course the work of the administration is not confined to political reform.
We would like to realise economic recovery as well as deal with pensions and other issues in the near future, and in addition to bring about policies that look 30 or even 50 years into the future, and radically question the shape of the Japanese nation itself.
Before World War II, Japan sought to possess huge military might. After the war, the nation was restored through its economy, and its citizens also recovered their confidence. However, from now on we must create a nation that can be trusted by the international community, a nation that will contribute to global society not only in the economic field, but also in the fields the environment, peace and culture.
The United States and China are two superpowers, but the role Japan can play in facilitating relations between them is by no means a small one.
We would like to propose an outline for a new nation where all the people living in Japan can live their lives with pride.
Based on the judgement passed today by the Japanese people, I would like to start preparations, from as early as tomorrow, so that a transfer of power can take place as speedily and smoothly as possible. While I will discuss matters with my colleagues in the DPJ, it will also be necessary to call for the cooperation of the current cabinet in order that a transfer of power that puts the people first can take place.
Together with the inauguration of the new administration, the DPJ will engage in a huge transformation of our nation’s politics and administration. At the same time, I recognise that from the perspective of the national interest and the interests of the Japanese people, there may be some essential measures that will need to be continued or developed and we will undertake a free and unbiased judgement of the methods employed by the Aso administration in this respect. Some policy issues that are likely to come under this category are measures for dealing with the pressing issue of new types of influenza, responding to threats to our national security and preparing for various natural disasters.
Today is the first day of our fight toward an even greater victory for the Japanese people. The DPJ will aim to achieve victory in that fight. We will never forget that we must walk a long and challenging road, and will exert all our strength each and every day.
I would like to ask the public for their cooperation and support and on behalf of the DPJ, express my gratitude and determination going forward.