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Kada’s party eyes ¥310,000 per-child yearly benefit

JIJI

Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada said Thursday her just-launched political party plans to include annual child benefits worth ¥310,000 per head in its policy pledges for the Dec. 16 House of Representatives election.

Kada told reporters in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, that the party, Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party), hopes to provide some of the benefits in the form of vouchers that can be used to cover costs related to child-rearing.

The idea resembles a similar program included in the Democratic Party of Japan’s campaign platform for the August 2009 Lower House election that brought it to power. In the 2009 platform, the DPJ called for allowances of ¥26,000 per child a month, or ¥312,000 a year, under the initiative of then-DPJ don Ichiro Ozawa.

Ozawa, who left the DPJ last summer and formed the party Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People’s Life First), is set to join forces, along with his allies, with Kada’s party.

Kada’s party, which was officially launched Wednesday, opposes nuclear power and tax increases. Ozawa left the DPJ after its leader, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, got the two main opposition parties, particularly the Liberal Democratic Party, at the time to ensure Diet passage of his key goal to double the sale tax.

Kada’s party has attracted like-minded political groups, including Ozawa’s. They aim to create a viable force to rival the DPJ and the LDP in the Dec. 16 poll.

Kada also suggested Thursday that she will appoint Yuko Mori, a House of Councilors lawmaker from Ozawa’s party, as deputy head of Nippon Mirai no To.

Kada said she does not plan to appoint Ozawa to a senior post of her party.