Noda tosses bone to foes of TPP talks in the DPJ

JIJI

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Monday that discussions should be carried on inside the Democratic Party of Japan on whether participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks should be included in the party’s campaign platform.

Noda made the comments at a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee two days after he said Japan’s participation in the talks will be included in the DPJ platform for the next Lower House election.

By showing readiness to heed the stance of DPJ members against the TPP, he was trying to ease any opposition, sources said.

TPP opponents in the DPJ, including former agriculture minister Masahiko Yamada, have been threatening to bolt the party.

Noda said his comment Saturday about the TPP was in line with what he promised when the DPJ held its leadership election in September and in his Diet policy speech in October.

The prime minister also apologized for the failure to meet the DPJ’s campaign pledge for the 2009 Lower House election to generate ¥16.8 trillion in fresh funds by eliminating wasteful government spending.

He said the promise was overly optimistic.