DPJ pledges to withdraw SDF troops — if elected

The Democratic Party of Japan on Friday unveiled a policy platform for the July 11 House of Councilors election, pledging to withdraw Japanese troops from Iraq if it takes power.

The campaign platform of the main opposition party also calls for revising the Imperial Household Law to allow female members of the Imperial family to take the throne.

The government officially decided Friday to have Self-Defense Forces troops in Iraq participate in a U.N.-authorized multinational force that will be formed after the June 30 transfer of power to the Iraqi interim government.

The DPJ platform says, “The SDF should be withdrawn given the transfer of sovereignty.”

The DPJ says the government has not fully explained the SDF’s plan to participate in the multinational force.

On Japan-U.S. relations, the policy platform says Japan should not be too dependent on the United States in the diplomatic arena, calling for the establishment of a mature relationship with Washington in a spirit of independence and equal partnership.

The DPJ has already unveiled its pledges on three other key campaign issues: the nation’s pension system, the use of state subsidies to local governments, and the disclosure of political funds.

The party has called for a unified pension system for lawmakers and the general public beginning in 2009 as part of reforms to the nation’s pension system, while calling on all parties and political fund-managing organizations to fully disclose their financial reports.