Well now it is official.
The Communist and the Seikatsusha Network caucuses have officially declared their opposition to Bill 156, and together with Yoshiko Fukushi, an independent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member, they now have enough votes to defeat the Nonexistent Crime Bill–If the Democratic Party of Japan caucus goes along.
Since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is the party with the largest number of seats in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), their position on any bill can have a lot of impact, but they cannot prevent a bill from passing on their own.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the numbers. There are a total of 127 seats in the TMA. The DPJ holds 52, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) holds 38, the New Komeito Party (NKP) holds 23, the Japan Communist Party (JCP) holds 8, Tokyo Seikatsusha Network holds 3, and there are 2 independents and 1 vacancy.
Governor Ishihara is allied with the LDP, and in turn the LDP has an alliance with the NKT, so the ruling minority party holds 61 votes and there is 1 independent who was expelled from the DPJ that probably will vote against them, so they hold 62 votes. Ishihara submitted the bill and both the LDP and NKP has expressed their full support for Bill 156, so to kill the Nonexistent Crime Bill you need more than 63.
To Achieve this, you need not only the DPJ (52) but both the Communists (8) and the Seikatsusha Network (3) plus the independent Fukushi (1) has to join forces. If and only when all these parties band together, do they reach the number 64.
In March and June, there was considerable worry over the possibility that the Seikatsusha Network might defect and go along with the LDP / NKP. If they did do that, it would be a vote of 65 against 61 and the DPJ would lose. But in the end, that didn’t happen and the bill was defeated in June.
The Communists and Ms. Keiko Fukushi declared their opposition on Bill 156 quite early on, but now the Seikatsusha Network has also committed themselves to fighting the bill, so now it is entire up the DPJ.
As I understand the DPJ has still not made up their mind about what to do.
DPJ members have been heckled and lambasted by LDP members and some PTA groups as being “porno legislators” that put higher priority on keeping hard core erotica in the hands of kids rather than protecting them from it.
The DPJ caucus would also like to point out that their opposition to the bill has forced Tokyo and Ishihara to water-down the bill somewhat and remove some controversial provisions from it. And elections are coming up next year so they really don’t want to have this albatross around their necks any longer.
But at the same time, there is intense pressure being applied by prominent authors, industry groups, and even some newspaper editorials to defeat Bill 156. It goes without saying many thousands of people are writing to TMA members regarding this bill.
And Governor Ishihara is not making anything better with the caustic words he keeps tossing out, almost belittling anyone that dare oppose the bill. Even the department within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is not really making it easy to be conciliatory because they keep saying that the “spirit” of the original bill that was killed in June has been preserved in the new bill being submitted.
So as of now, this is a real toss up.
The rally is planned to be streamed on Niko Niko Douga.
How many people showing up to the rally might have an impact on whether or not the Nonexistent Crime Bill passes in the coming weeks.