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Fukuoka: What should be the next prime minister’s top three priorities?

by Mark Buckton

Ian Ruxton, 56
Kitakyushu resident (British)

Send Self-Defense Forces right now to defend the Senkaku Islands and build on them, taking a leaf out of South Korea’s book; repair and restore good relations with the U.S., which have dipped recently; and encourage more Japanese firms to invest in (emerging) countries such as Burma.

Miki Nakajima, 44
Office worker (Japanese)
He must amend the Constitution to allow the Self-Defense Forces to actually defend Japan and help create a Japanese identity. Then, he needs to raise the consumption tax to 10 percent or more to help rebuild Tohoku. Finally, we need to think about the ongoing debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Keiko Hashimoto, 44
International firm staff (Japanese)
Fukushima should be his key focus — the radiation problems and rebuilding damaged areas. Next, relations with our Asian neighbors need a lot of work after recent rows over Takeshima and the Senkakus. Finally, the consumption tax needs to be raised to help pay for rebuilding Tohoku.

Masayoshi Watanabe, 48
Office worker (Japanese)
Rebuilding and reinvesting in Tohoku needs to be the main focus of the incoming prime minister. After that, the overall economy needs attention, of course. He also needs to work on improving our relations with China, which have been damaged by the Senkaku Islands issue.

Yuko Hirakawa, 28
Call center staff (Japanese)
First and foremost, the new prime minister needs to improve the welfare system and, linked to this, work at making it easier for people to have children and raise the declining birthrate. Finally, even though it is far from here, the Fukushima-related radiation problems need to be addressed.

Nozomi Hatae, 30
Company worker (Japanese)
Whoever wins — and I hope it is (Shinzo) Abe, as he is a better decision-maker — needs to focus on creating more jobs. The consumption tax is another issue, and the current rate needs to be maintained, not increased. Third, I would say the welfare and pension systems need to be improved.

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