The policy platform unveiled by the Democratic Party of Japan is full of pledges simply to woo voters ahead of the Aug. 30 Lower House election, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda lamented Thursday.
The DPJ “is just talking off the top of its head with attractive (policies) for the election to collect votes,” Hosoda said in an interview with The Japan Times. “It is not good to flatter the people to win their favor with policies that are just for show, although slowly, I think the public is beginning to realize that.”
The LDP-New Komeito ruling bloc is in for a tough time in the Aug. 30 poll and many critics speculate it could lose power to the DPJ. However, Hosoda said he is certain the coalition will be able to maintain a majority in the lower chamber.
“This election is turning out to be very difficult for the LDP, but the LDP-New Komeito ruling coalition will get a majority,” Hosoda said. Winning a majority “is our goal and I am convinced we will be able to collect enough” seats.
Among the DPJ’s pledges are a ¥26,000 per child monthly allowance and toll-free expressways, but Hosoda slammed them as “haphazard” policies that lack concrete financial support. The DPJ has stressed that it would cut wasteful spending by the current ruling bloc-led government and use that money for other purposes.
“When I asked how the DPJ intends to implement these pledges that are based on giving out money without straining the nation’s financial conditions, (its members) said they would save money through administrative reform,” Hosoda said. “But if they can’t save enough money, they would just increase deficits . . . and that’s irresponsible.”
He played up the ruling bloc, pointing out that it has come up with more “realistic” measures, including providing free nurseries and kindergartens and an across-the-board freeway toll of ¥1,000 on weekends and holidays. In addition, it has suggested the possibility of raising the consumption tax in the near future — an idea not popular with the public, particularly amid the current recession.
The DPJ, on the other hand, has said it won’t raise the consumption tax for at least four years.
“The DPJ is just seeking popularity through launching haphazard policies and avoiding a consumption tax hike,” Hosoda said. “If by chance the DPJ should take power, it is the public who would end up paying for the tragedy, and I am just hoping they come to realize that in the next 17 days” before the election, he said.