Shinshinto pushes for security laws for 21st century

Shinshinto, the largest opposition party, called for new legislation to deal with security-related emergencies in a set of plans announced June 10 to prepare the country for the 21st century.

The proposal says Japan should make legal preparations for emergencies so it won’t have to resort to measures beyond the law. The proposal, which says the nation should not have the right to collective defense nor expand its right to individual defense, calls for respecting the activities of the United Nations and the Japan-U.S. security arrangement to promote and maintain world peace.

To promote administrative reform, the current 22 government ministries and agencies should gradually be integrated into 10, and government-affiliated special corporations should, in principle, be abolished within three years, the plan said. To improve local government autonomy, the current 3,232 municipalities, whose populations vary between more than 3 million and several hundred, should be reorganized into 300 municipalities.

In drafting the plan, Shinshinto discarded one of its policy pledges — tax cuts worth 18 trillion yen — made during the general election last October. Although it was initiated by party President Ichiro Ozawa, the tax cut pledge had been unpopular even within the party because it was considered unrealistic.