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Oct 12 / 2016

Action 98. Provide Clear Numerical Targets for Fiscal Reconstruction, Introduce the Dō System, and Establish a Constitutional Court!

Public finance is the backbone of the country. If it collapses, the country collapses. It is therefore necessary to clearly indicate numerical targets for fiscal reconstruction in the Constitution, which shapes the country. The same can be said for the Dō system. Taking the revision of the Constitution as an opportunity, the people of Japan should have a thorough debate and carry out a revolution to reshape the country. It is also necessary to introduce a constitutional court, which currently does not exist in Japan, on the occasion of the revision of the Constitution.

1. Stipulate Numerical Targets for Fiscal Reconstruction in the Constitution! Achieve Efficient Public Finance by Adopting a Multiple-Year Budget!
In Europe, many countries have included provisions regarding fiscal consolidation in their constitution. When the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation was amended in 2001, extremely strict provisions for balanced budgets were added, for example: “The Swiss Confederation must always maintain a long-term balance between revenue and expenditure” and “The limit of total expenditure approved in the budget must take into account economic conditions and be based on the estimated revenue.” The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany amended in 2009 includes more rigorous balanced budget provisions including numerical targets, such as: “Both the federal government and states must maintain a balanced budget without taking on debt” and “the federal government is forbidden to run a structural deficit of more than 0.35% of GDP.” The financial situation of Japan is one of the worst among developed countries. It is necessary to include a strict balanced budget provision and also establish a system to check balance sheets, such as by: 1) stipulating a long-term balance between revenue and expenditure and, in the long run, reducing the outstanding debt of the national and local governments to less than 10% of GDP; 2) preparing a national balance sheet, including the management of both taxes and other revenues, such as pension and health insurance premiums, and imposing on the Board of Audit a responsibility to submit it to the Diet; and 3) amending Article 86, which stipulates the single-year budgeting system, in such a way as to adopt a multiple-year budgeting system in order to achieve efficient fiscal management.
2. Introduce the Dō System and Stipulate the Establishment of the Dō Government, its Taxation Autonomy, and its Right to Enact Legislation!
In Japan, which is suffering from huge deficits and a declining population, it is necessary to promote a drastic decentralization of government in order to enable local governments to develop their own policies for competing on the world stage to achieve economic growth. Considering the present situation and future needs of Japan, the introduction of the Dō system should be completed in a short period of time by clearly stipulating it in the Constitution, rather than gradually introducing the Dō system by changing one law and system at a time.
3. Introduce the Constitutional Court System, Enabling the Performance of Statutory Interpretation in a Speedy Manner!
Nearly two thirds of the constitutions enacted in 1990 and later years in different countries around the world provide for a constitutional court, indicating that the constitutional court system has been spreading around the world.
In Japan, the Supreme Court has the right to determine the constitutionality of legislation. Under this system, it is only when a specific incident has occurred and questions are raised about its legal basis that the constitutionality of the underpinning law is determined. This means there is an extremely long time lag between the enactment of a law and the final decision on its constitutionality or otherwise. This is particularly conspicuous in Japan, where the Supreme Court is extremely reluctant to make decisions on constitutionality. For this reason, in recent years, there have been hardly any Supreme Court decisions on constitutionality, other than the issue of the disparity in the value of individual votes. Japan should introduce a constitutional court system and establish a system to determine the statutory interpretation of laws under the constitution, which is necessary to maintain constitutional government. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany consists of 16 judges, half appointed by the Bundestag (lower house) and half by the Bundesrat (upper house). In France, where a preliminary review of constitutionality can be carried out, the Constitutional Council consists of nine judges: three appointed by the president of the Republic, three by the president of the National Assembly (lower house), and the remaining three by the president of the Senate (upper house). In Japan, it would be desirable for the same number of judges to be appointed by each of the House of Representatives, the House of Councillors, the Cabinet, and the Supreme Court, taking into account the three branches of government.

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