Oshima lays out LDP’s comeback fundamentals

by Alex Martin

Tadamori Oshima, the newly appointed secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said Friday that regaining the public’s trust will require concrete policies and a clear, new vision of what the party stands for.

Oshima, a former farm minister who was appointed to the party’s No. 2 post Tuesday, said during a group interview that the LDP must get back to basics by campaigning at the grassroots level while simultaneously strengthening the party’s ability to govern.

Furthermore, Oshima said the LDP must battle on two fronts.

“Policies proposed by the Democratic Party of Japan require a large budget, but resources are limited. As the opposition, we must examine these policies closely and present counterproposals when needed,” said the former LDP Diet affairs chief.

“At the same time, a vision for the party is necessary, and that is why (LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki) has proposed hosting a discussion panel to sketch out plans for regaining power,” Oshima said, adding this panel could also rate the LDP’s progress on rebuilding itself.

Oshima, 63, said next year’s Upper House election will be the first step toward returning to power, and that although the LDP will aim to gain a majority on its own, it intends to maintain close relations with former coalition partner and longtime ally New Komeito.

“What is most important is for us to unite under the leadership of President Tanigaki,” Oshima stressed, adding that the LDP must also strive to attract new talent.

Turning to the LDP’s chief rival, Oshima said that although the DPJ’s Cabinet ministers are “shooting off fireworks” by trying to engineer a change in governance, it is unclear what the party really has to offer.

“I still can’t see where the DPJ intends to lead our nation,” he said.

Oshima is a Keio University graduate and a native of Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. A veteran lawmaker, in recent years he served as Diet affairs chief, maneuvering the party in a divided Diet during the turbulent tenures of Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso.

Oshima was also agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister between 2002 and 2003 but resigned after allegations his secretary received kickbacks on public works projects.