Political parties of Japan debate on key issues ahead of upper house election campaigns

Leaders of Japanese political parties on Tuesday debated on key political and economic issues ahead of the upcoming House of Councillors election slated for July 10, with the ruling camp seeking to gain over two thirds of the seats in the chamber so as to launch a Constitution amendment motion.

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Pool/AFP/File / Issei Kato Japan's Olympic Minister, Toshiaki Endo, pictured following his appointment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, in June 2015
Pool/AFP/File / Issei Kato Japan's Olympic Minister, Toshiaki Endo, pictured following his appointment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, in June 2015

The debate came one day before the official campaigning for the upper house poll. President of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe, who is also Japanese prime minister, said in the public debate that his party will continue to push his economic policy mix dubbed “Abenomics.”

Pool/AFP/File / Issei Kato Japan's Olympic Minister, Toshiaki Endo, pictured following his appointment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, in June 2015
Pool/AFP/File / Issei Kato
Japan’s Olympic Minister, Toshiaki Endo, pictured following his appointment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, in June 2015

Abe vowed to bring outcome after pushing his economic policies and cited improved economic data such as jobless rate and government tax revenue, saying that the “Abenomics” is “still halfway along the road.”

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the Komeito Party, the LDP’s small ruling partner, said that the ruling bloc will keep a steady hand on economy policies and enhance the social security reform, adding that they want to publicize the sense that the benefits of “Abenomics” have not been reached yet.

In an apparent effort to make economy improvement the focal point of the election campaign, the LDP leader avoided deliberating the party’s agenda on Constitution amendment and only mentioned that reviewing the country’s war-renouncing Constitution has been a goal for the party since it came into being.

However, Abe reportedly will discuss issues related to the Constitution amendment during the Diet’s Autumn session after the upper house election and revealed his intention on Sunday in an online program.

The opposition parties, meanwhile, criticized that the “Abenomics” has failed to revive the Japanese economy and called for voters to stop the ruling bloc’s attempt to review the Constitution and other “runaway policies,” taking into consideration the enactments of the unpopular Special Secrecy Law and the unconstitutional security laws.

Citing the prime minister’s decision to delay the planned sales tax hike again by about 18 months, Katsuya Okada, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said the government economic policies are “stuck at a fork in the road” and “must be turned around.”

He also criticized the newly enacted new security laws, saying that the constitutional pacifism is being changed by the legislation, which should not be allowed, while calling for the retraction of the security laws.

Leaders of the Japan Communist Party and Social Democratic Party also called on the Japanese public to stop Abe’s “runaway policies” so as to protect the war-renouncing Constitution.

Some of the opposition parties, including the Democratic Party and the Japan Communist Party, have cooperated in all 32 contested single-member electoral districts by registering single joint candidates to fight against the ruling bloc.

Half of the 242 seats in the upper house are elected every three years. The ruling bloc already has a majority, but less than two thirds, in the chamber. The launch of a Constitution review motion needs approval by a two-thirds majority in both houses in the Japanese parliament.

According to the latest media survey, over 60 percent of the Japanese population thought the “Abenomics” should be adjusted. The survey conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun also showed that the support rate for the Abe’s Cabinet declined by 7 percentage points from the previous one to 42 percent.

A separate poll by Japanese Kyodo News showed that some 56.5 percent of those surveyed showed their opposition to review the Constitution. Enditiem

Source: Xinhua

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