(This document is the keynote speech by Professor Heizo Takenaka at the symposium held in Taiwan on June 19th.)
“Democracy and the role of parliamentary watch” Heizo Takenaka
The world is now entering a period of “Transition”. As symbolized by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the global security environment is undergoing changes of unprecedented scale. The so-called “post-Cold War” world order is collapsing.
It is necessary to review the "Liberal World Order" (free world order) such as conventional unconditional globalization, free trade, and multilateralism.
We must recognize that we are facing a once-in-several decades transition period.
What is important is that the future of democracy is being called into question amid these changes in the world. In the study published from the V-Dem Institute in Sweden, researchers categolised today's political system into 4 types.
Closed dictatorship, electoral autocracy, electoral democracy and liberal democracy.
And as of 2022, there will be 32 “liberal democracies”. On the other hand, 89 countries/regions will be regarded as ''authoritarian governments''.
So, now, it is extremely important to maintain and develop free democracy. And even in a free and democratic country like Japan, we actually have various problems. So, more efforts are needed to make our democracy work effectively.
In this respect, the role of parliamentary monitoring is becoming more important because, through being overseen, parliaments can improve their function and produce better public policies.
In some countries, non-governmental organizations are engaged in such monitoring activities.
In Japan, “Perennial Opposition,” a non-profit organization to which I serve as an advisor, has evaluated Diet members and presented the "Three-Star Legislator Award" since 2013.
In Taiwan, “Citizen Congress Watch” has been conducting evaluations of Legislative Yuan’s members since 2007, significantly contributing to the rapid development of its democracy.
In June, the two organizations agreed on a cooperation MOU. The two organizations intend to collaborate with each other, such as exchanging information and holding joint award ceremonies, and also to seek to create a cooperation framework of parliamentary monitoring across Asian countries.
I hope parliamentary monitoring groups from other countries, as well as related international organizations, will join us in our efforts and that together we can contribute to the strengthening of democracy around the world.