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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 September 12 - 18  > LDP presidency candidates sticking to ‘structural reform’ policy and Japan’s assistance in U.S. wars
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2007 September 12 - 18 [POLITICS]

LDP presidency candidates sticking to ‘structural reform’ policy and Japan’s assistance in U.S. wars

September 16, 2007
Following Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s announcement of his resignation, the Liberal Democratic Party on September 15 started its presidential election campaign (to be voted on September 23).

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo and LDP Secretary General Aso Taro filed their candidacies.

In a joint news conference held on the same day, Fukuda and Aso made clear that they are willing to stick to the “structural reform” policy that has increased poverty and social gaps and was rejected by voters in the recent Upper House election as well as the policy of continuing deployment of the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Indian Ocean.

Stressing that the “structural reform” policy has obtained excellent results, Fukuda stated, “I have no intention to change direction.”

Aso also emphasized “the need to continue structural reform in order to pursue economic growth that will serve the large corporations, though he admitted the need to take some measures to deal with negative aspects of such a policy,

Concerning the issue of extending the MSDF deployment in the Indian Ocean, Aso stated, “Japan must fulfill its responsibility” by continuously refueling the U.S. warships. Fukuda also stated, “We must gain public understanding for this policy.”

Both Fukuda and Aso showed their willingness to raise the consumption tax rate. Fukuda stated that in order to secure financial sources for an increased government share of contributions to the basic pension program to be started in FY 2009, “it will be necessary to take measures, including an increase in the consumption tax rate.”

Fukuda showed deep reluctance to revise the Political Funds Control law requiring fund management organizations to submit receipts for all expenses by stating, “I doubt that it is appropriate to disclose every expenditure.”

In declaring his candidacy earlier in the day, Fukuda hinted that as the prime minister he would refrain from visiting Yasukuni Shrine by stating, “I don’t think it necessary to dare to do what other countries don’t like.” Concerning constitutional revision, he stated, “This LDP policy will not change, but we need Diet approval.”
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