Policies of Each Party in the December 14 Election

Liberal Democratic Party

Following the Cabinet Decision in December, the Parliament should enact a law that supports Japan’s right to Collective Self Defense. The Liberal Democratic Party proposes the creation of a National Defense Military.

Party for the Next Generation

They demand an amendment to Article 9 that ensures the right to Collective Self Defense and authorizes a National Defense Military.

Democratic Party of Japan

The Cabinet Decision that approved Japan’s collective right to self defense is against the Constitution, therefore, Abe’s Cabinet should redact their decision.

Japan Innovation Party

It is important to define the right to defense under the current Constitution and need to enact laws supporting the right to self defense

Komei Party

The laws which enable the collective right to self defense should precisely reflect the Cabinet decision made in July. In order to do this, the coalition government of LDP and Komei should work together to moderate their differences of opinion in the proper approach to collective self-defense. Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies has been a leading scholar in detailing how these two parties may reach such an agreement.

Japan Communist Party

The Cabinet decision approving the collective right to self-defense should be rescinded, and there should be no laws written that explicitly guarantee Japan’s right to self-defense.

People’s Lives Party

In order to exercise the right to collective self-defense, the Constitution must be altered – in particular Article 9. Actions by the Cabinet or the Parliament in declaring a right to collective self-defense are invalid.

Social Democratic Party

The Cabinet decision approving the collective right to self-defense should be rescinded, as should the revision made to Guidelines of Japan US Defense Cooperation. Additionally, there should not be any laws made to guarantee the right to collective self-defense.

Sales Tax

In April, the national sales tax was raised from 5% to 8%. This action preceded a decline in GDP and overall economic activity. An additional raise in the sales tax was scheduled for October of 2015, but earlier this month Abe announced this second raise will be postponed until April 2017.

Liberal Democratic Party and Komei Party

The Komei Party, working with Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, agreed that the second increase in sales tax should be postponed until 2017. The also argued that a reduced sales tax system should be introduced for staple items such as food.

Some parties are against the 2017 sales tax hike but are aware of the need to raise sales taxes in the near future. These are the Democratic Party of Japan, Japan Innovation Party, Party for Future Generations, and People’s Lives Party.

The Japan Communist Party

The Japan Communist Party argues that the government should merely stop raising the sales tax while the Social Democratic Party argues for the previous 5% sales tax to be reinstated. The Japan Tax Reduction Party would be satisfied with any reduction in taxes, even as little as a yen, and so argue adamantly against raising the sales tax.

Nuclear Energy Policy

Liberal Democratic Party

Liberal Democratic Party says that nuclear energy is an important basic source of energy.

Democratic Party of Japan

Democratic Party of Japan says the use of nuclear energy should be phased out completely by 2040.

Japan Innovation Party

Japan Innovation Party says that Japan should stop depending on nuclear energy, but Japan should continue studying the technology for decommissioning nuclear reactors for future generations.

Komei Party

Komei Party says that Japan should not build new nuclear power plants, and should decrease the country’s dependency on nuclear energy as much as it can.

The Party for the Next Generations

The Party for the Next Generations supports the diversification of sources of energy, and also argues that Japan should maintain nuclear technology.

Japan Communist Party 

Japan Communist Party opposes the restart of nuclear power plants and also opposes the export of Japanese nuclear technology.

People’s Lives Party

People’s Lives Party opposes the restart of current nuclear power plants and the creation of new nuclear reactors. They argue that Japan should work on to spread the use of renewable energy as soon as it can.

Social Democratic Party

Social Democratic Party opposes the restart of current nuclear power plants and the creation of new reactors. They also support the use of renewable energy.

New Renaissance Party

New Renaissance Party argues that nuclear energy is not needed because electric power can be provided sufficiently if people use new technologies such as fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and renewable energy.

Japan Tax Reduction Party

Japan Tax Reduction Party says Japan should move toward not depending on nuclear energy in order to assure the security of lives of people.

Transpacific Partnership 

Liberal Democratic Party

Although LDP is the strongest supporter of TPP, but officials do not talk often about the TPP during the December 2014 electoral campaign. Farmers and fishermen in Japan have been consistently opposed of the TPP. LDP members whose electoral districts are in rural areas where agriculture and fishing are the dominant industries have opposed the TPP while LDP members whose districts are in urban areas generally support the TPP. A LDP member, Koya Nishikawa who is very knowledgeable about agriculture and fishing worked hard to resolve the differences of opinion among LDP members over the TPP.  The LDP members with support from farmers and fishermen have continued to push to retain Japanese tariffs on five sensitive products in order to protect the livelihoods of farmers and fishermen. But, Yomiuri Shimbun reports that LDP members with agricultural supporters have been silent on the TPP during this election campaign and have therefore implicitly agreed to the TPP. Since the negotiation coming to an end, the TPP seems inevitable.

Yomiuri further reports that an LDP candidate, Shunsuke Takei from the 1st district of Miyazaki, which is a prominent ranching area, did not touch on the TPP during a meeting on December 8 with 250 farmer and ranchers participants.  The chairman of the Miyazaki farmers association, Toshiyuki Morinaga, told Yomiuri that he does not expect Takei to talk about the TPP in front of everyone. He also said he understood why Takei is not able to talk about the TPP, despite receiving the endorsement of the association. Takei has claimed that Japan must stick to the decision of the Parliament which was (passed in April 2014 )to retain the tariffs on the sensitive products throughout the TPP negotiation.

Komei Party

They claim that Japan should proceed aggressively with the TPP negotiations and try to win concessions for whatever Japan can. The negotiators should strive to maximize Japanese national interests during the negotiations.

Liberal Democratic Party

The LDP claims that, while being mindful of the resolutions passed by the LDP and the Parliament, Japan should strive to pursue the best way that serves for the national interests.They claim that the TPP free trade agreement is important, but that there are industries which have to be protected. If joining TPP endangers the local economy, Japan should consider withdrawing from the negotiation.

In order to protect the farmers from competition, LDP claims that they should promote a “sixth industry” in which farmers will be in charge of both processing and selling their products. The LDP also promises to promote reforms of the agricultural system in order to accelerate the creation of a large-scale agricultural industry.

Japan Innovation Party rarely mentions the TPP during its electoral campaign.

People’s Lives Party claims that we should not continue negotiations on the TPP, and instead sign a bilateral free trade agreement with each participating country in the TPP.

Social Democratic Party claims that the TPP hurts the weakest members of Japanese society, so it demands an immediate withdrawal from the TPP.

Japan Communist Party regards the TPP as a trade agreement that sells Japan to the US. The party demands that Japan immediately withdrawal from the TPP negotiations.

People’s Democratic Party demands full disclosure of information about the TPP negotiation.

( Reference : 1. Tokyo Shimbun December 2, 2014, 2. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/election/shugiin/2014/feature/20141211-OYT8T50005.html)

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