TOKYO, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda faces a tough road ahead as he battles to rescue the nation from financial turmoil and swiftly set about reconstruction initiatives in areas leveled by the March disasters.
But Noda, the third prime minister since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took power two years ago, is already coming under fire from local media and political analysts Wednesday, two weeks after he was sworn in.
The backlash has been sparked primarily for the new prime minister's largely indeterminate keynote policy speech on Tuesday - - the first he's made in the Diet -- given against a backdrop of mounting public debt and concerns as to whether his government can effectively raise enough funds to comprehensively deal with the post-March disaster devastation still conspicuously evident in regions along the Pacific coast.
The Japanese public, primarily, and those in political and media circles were hoping for Noda to convey his precise vision for dealing with a multitude of problems facing the nation, including those of rising social welfare costs and potential tax increases, as well as cross and intra party relationships inside and outside of the ruling DPJ.
But instead of sticking to his heartfelt "loach" analogies, which endeared him to the public and his party's legislators, Noda struck a cautious tone, perhaps to distance himself from his predecessors' overly rhetorical trumpeting of lofty policy ideals in similar instances in recent years, but whatever the reason the DPJ conservative will now have to prove he has some bite and isn't all bark.
Within Japan's bicameral system of parliament, the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party-led bloc controls the House of Councillors and Noda needs their support to pass key bills and the legislation necessary to enact them.
None more pressing than the 130 billion U.S. dollars reconstruction bill expected to be submitted to parliament in October, which according to recent editorial on the matter, has yet to be drafted to a point that it details a clear direction of how the funds will be raised, let alone put to use.
"Regarding a third supplementary budget draft to finance disaster recovery measures, he (Noda) only briefly mentioned subsidies and the planned designation of special districts where legal regulations would be eased to facilitate restoration efforts, " the Mainichi Daily News said Wednesday in an editorial on the subject.
"However, he hardly showed the direction to achieve both disaster prevention and restoration of local communities or whether his administration will promote the mass relocation of tsunami-ravaged neighborhoods to safer areas," said the Mainichi Daily News.
The editorial went on to highlight he fact that six months have already passed since the March 11 disasters and as such Noda's mantra of taking pride in and governing with a "correct mind and sincerity" must be called into question.
Although prior to the DPJ presidential election Noda eased his stance on raising taxes, it is widely known that the former finance minister is a keen proponent of hiking taxes to deal with the nation's burgeoning social welfare costs as the population continues to shrink and is becoming increasingly grey.
But yet again, Noda's most important audience, the Japanese public, were left wanting, as the prime minister's keenly awaited policy on tax and social security reforms have only been mentioned in terms of a general timeline and the specifics remain unclear. Political pundits maintain that it is this very kind of hazy politics that led to the demise of Noda's two unpopular predecessors, who both failed to convince the public they had the leadership skills to bring key policies though to fruition.
"As to a plan to reform the tax and social security systems as a package, the prime minister only showed the schedule for the government's submission of relevant bills to the next regular Diet session. He should have gone into more detail in an effort to convince the public," said the Mainichi.