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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 3 - 9  > JCP will go all out in Upper House election campaign
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2019 July 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

JCP will go all out in Upper House election campaign

July 5, 2019

A17-day campaign period for the House of Councilors election officially started on July 4 with revision of the Article 9 of the Constitution, an increase in the consumption tax rate to 10%, and the national pension system as major issues. Opposition parties have fielded joint candidates in all 32 single-seat constituencies. In each electoral district, cooperation of opposition parties with concerned citizens has developed and is ready to face off against ruling rivals.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo delivered the party's kick-off speech at Shinjuku Station square, asking voters to give support to joint opposition candidates and help in achieving a major JCP advance.

Shii, in order to prevent cuts in pension benefits, promised to abolish the macroeconomic slide scheme by presenting ways to secure needed financial resources. He also stated a JCP commitment to the realization of a uniform increase in pension benefits for low-income pensioners.

Shii pointed out that the diffusion index on business sentiments in Japan fell for the second straight month and the central bank's survey also shows a negative growth for two consecutive quarters. He said, "Under this situation, it is incredibly foolish for the government to force through a higher tax rate. It is not Prime Minister Abe but the people, as sovereign of the nation, who decide how the country's taxation system should be. It is not too late. We can stop the planned tax hike."

Regarding PM Abe's aspiration to remove the non-belligerency principle from Article 9 of the Constitution, Shii said, "Abe's real purpose is to turn Japan's defense forces into troops that will shed blood along with the U.S. military in the event of a contingency involving U.S. forces anywhere in the world." He added that Japan is expected to carry on with its peace diplomacy in the international community by making the best use of the war-renouncing Article 9.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abe in his kick-off speech made in Fukushima expressed his hostility toward the opposition parties-citizens collaboration.

* * *

On the day, leaders of other political parties also took to the streets to make election campaign kick-off speeches.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who is the president of the Liberal Democratic Party, chose a fruit farm in Fukushima Prefecture as the site for delivering his first speech.

In his speech, Abe underscored the need to promote the reconstruction of Fukushima in the aftermath of the 2011 massive earthquake and to quash rumors about the radiation contamination risks of Fukushima’s agricultural and marine products, while avoiding touching on the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. He focused on attacking the opposition parties’ joint struggles.

Abe said that an LDP candidate and a joint opposition candidate stand in the Fukushima single-seat constituency and that Fukushima will see one of the fiercest election battles in the country. He criticized the Japanese Communist Party for its attitude toward the Japan-U.S. alliance and the Self-Defense Forces. Abe said that the joint opposition candidate in Fukushima is backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Democratic Party for the People, and the JCP, each of which has different opinions concerning the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the constitutionality of the SDF.

Abe stated that the LDP pledges to add to the Constitution an explicit reference to the SDF in order to put an end to the argument about the legitimacy of the SDF. PM Abe mentioned this topic for the first time in a campaign kick-off speech of a national election after he made his comeback to power in 2012.

Concerning the erosion of public trust in the public pension system, Abe claimed that it is impossible to increase the amount of pension benefits without an increase in pension premiums. He disregarded proposals on pension reforms made by opposition party leaders at recent debates, including TV debates. Abe criticized the opposition parties for heightening voter anxiety regarding the public pension program without presenting concrete reform plans and ways to secure necessary funds.
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