Forcing a poll LDP’s main goal but it’s open to dialogue: Tanigaki

by Alex Martin

The primary goal of the Liberal Democratic Party is to force the ruling Democratic Party of Japan to dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election, although it is open to dialogue on issues where consensus is possible, LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, the veteran lawmaker said that because the opposition camp, including his party, holds the most seats in the Upper House, it should use this majority to prevent the DPJ from steamrolling bills through the Diet.

The LDP, which the DPJ ousted from almost a half century of power when it won a majority in last August’s Lower House election, staged a surprising comeback by winning the most Upper House seats up for grabs in the July 11 poll.

“We made way more gains in this election than we had expected,” Tanigaki said.

“We have many weaknesses to overcome, but we will do our utmost to pressure the ruling party to dissolve the Lower House and call an election.”

The former finance minister said that aside from this goal, the LDP is also willing to engage in sincere dialogue with the DPJ.

“Before the (July) election, Prime Minister (Naoto) Kan suggested beginning intraparty dialogue with the LDP and other parties on raising the consumption tax,” Tanigaki said, noting Kan had aligned the DPJ with the LDP campaign proposal to hike the tax to 10 percent as a reference point for discussions.

Tanigaki said that if Kan wants serious debate on the topic, he should first provide more concrete specifics before moving forward.

“It’s important for the ruling party to take a responsible attitude when discussing this subject. A fundamental structure should be presented — then we will be willing to enter discussions,” he said.