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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 4 - 10  > Shii debates with 7 party leaders concerning election issues
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2017 October 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

Shii debates with 7 party leaders concerning election issues

October 9, 2017
In advance of official start of the general election campaign, leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Hope Party, the Ishin no Kai party, and the Party for Japanese Kokoro debated key election issues on TV debate programs aired on the weekend.

Similar pre-election debates were hosted by the Japan National Press Club and Japan’s popular live streaming platform Nico Nico Douga, respectively, over the weekend.

The Fuji TV network and NHK on October 8 used their political debate programs, “Hodo 2001” and “Sunday Debate”, to air a debate between eight political parties.

Each program first asked what issue the eight political parties will focus on to appeal to voters. LDP President and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said that his party will call for voters’ support for its approach toward the North Korea and aging society issues. Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko who heads the Hope Party said that she will offer voters an “option” in the current political arena dominated by the LDP.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo argued that since PM Abe made a comeback to power five years ago, he has been implementing policies which trample on the Constitution and ignore public opinion as well as abusing his power for his own interests. Shii said that whether to put an end to PM Abe’s outrageous handling of politics will be the most important issue in the election.

Shii said that in the general election, the JCP will work hard to achieve its goal of obtaining 8.5 million votes in total, equivalent to over 15% of total votes cast, in the proportional representation constituencies and win seats even in single-seat constituencies. Citing the established framework for a joint struggle of concerned citizens and opposition parties, Shii said that based on the policy agreement concluded with the Civil Alliance, the JCP, CDPJ, and SDP will join hands in the election to force the Abe government to step down and establish politics that work in the interests of the general public.

The weekend debate also dealt with the issue of the planned consumption tax increase to 10% in October 2019, which PM Abe cited as why he called the snap general election.

Hope Party leader Koike and Ishin leader Matsui Ichiro insisted that the tax hike should accompany to a dog-eat-dog “structural reform” policy. PM Abe said that he will take measures to prevent household expenditures from declining. Leaders of CDPJ and SDP opposed the consumption tax hike.

Shii presented government data indicating that over the past 41 months after the consumption tax increased to 8% in 2015, the number of months that the household consumption growth rate went up on a year-on-year basis stood at only four months. Shii said that under this circumstance, the consumption tax hike to 10% will deliver a further devastating blow not only to the household economy but also to the Japanese economy overall. Shii said that the JCP proposes a cancellation of the planned tax hike and redistribution of the tax burden by a progressive tax system that increases taxes on large corporations and the rich.

Shii pointed out that as shown in the JCP proposal, an end to the current preferential tax measures to big businesses and the wealthy will lead to an increase in tax revenues by five trillion yen which amounts to consumption tax revenues gained through a 2% tax rate raise.

After debating the issues of North Korea’s threat and constitutional revision, the eight party leaders outlined their policies on nuclear power generation.

PM Abe and Komei leader Yamaguchi Natsuo advocated the restart of nuclear power plants. Along with Shii, CDPJ leader Edano Yukio and SDP head Yoshida Tadatomo expressed their opposition to the restart of nuclear power plants.

Shii said, “In every opinion poll, 50-60% of the respondents said ‘No’ to NPP reactivation. The reason for this is that the general public acknowledges the reality where 68,000 Fukushima victims are still unable to return to their homes even after six years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. The government should take public opinion seriously into account.”

Shii referred to the announced calculation that storage pools at nuclear power stations will be filled with spent fuels in six years if they resume operations, stressing, “Nuclear power generation should be abolished without any attempt for reactivation.”

At the end of the debate, asked about the underlying structure of the election, Shii noted that Tokyo governor’s Hope Party accepts the war laws, amendments to Article 9, and the restart of offline NPPs. In addition, Shii pointed out the fact that in another debate program, HP leader Koike said that her party has little difference from the LDP. Shii said that the true structure is a confrontation between the ruling parties/supplementary forces and the opposition parties/citizens alliance.
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