LDP PLATFORM UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Kamei pushes holidays, tax breaks

The policy affairs chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Sunday reiterated his desire to make longer holidays and lower donation taxes planks in the LDP’s campaign platform in the next general elections.

Speaking on a television program, Shizuka Kamei stressed that new domestic demand cannot be created by sticking to traditional lifestyles and beliefs, and that economic structural reforms were, in essence, lifestyle reforms.

Regarding donation taxes, Kamei noted that Japan has 1.4 quadrillion yen in personal savings, and that its use would be the key to economic recovery.

“Deposits held by elderly people are just lying dormant. If we raise the basic tax-deductible ceiling (on donation taxes) from the current 600,000 yen to something like 10 million yen (and cut taxes) they can pass on this money to their children and grandchildren, thus boosting domestic demand,” he said.

Kamei has been calling for expansion of core tax deductions and is expected to take up the issue with the LDP’s tax panel before the elections.

Also on the same program, Kamei said he has instructed the Labor Ministry to look into specific ways in which extended vacations could be introduced in Japan.

Musical chairs hinted

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka indicated Sunday that some candidates running in the next general election on the New Conservative Party ticket may join the LDP’s proportional representation list to secure seats.

Speaking on a live television program, Nonaka repeated his idea that some New Conservative Party candidates will be included in the LDP fold ahead of the election, which many expect to take place in June.

On the same show, New Conservative Party Secretary General Takeshi Noda said that while the word “merger” was misleading, “transfers” of candidates might be possible.

Kato to urge dialogue

Koichi Kato, former secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, will propose at an international forum in New York on Tuesday that Japan and the United States hold a security dialogue with China, his aides said Sunday.

Kato, who will leave Monday for a four-day visit to the U.S., also plans to stress that cooperation between the three countries is indispensable in resolving issues on the Korean Peninsula, they said.

Other participants in the forum will include former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and World Bank President James Wolfensohn.