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DPJ vows cut in Lower House seats

Kyodo

Among other goals it failed to achieve while in power, the Democratic Party of Japan will call for cutting 80 of the 480 seats in the Lower House in its campaign pledges for the upcoming Upper House election, a draft of its platform shows.

The party vows in the draft manifesto to restore the country’s fiscal health through revenue and spending reforms and an economic growth strategy.

The DPJ, which was defeated by the Liberal Democratic Party in last December’s Lower House election, is critical of the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, dubbed “Abenomics.”

In the draft, the DPJ proposes creating a bill to achieve a primary balance surplus in fiscal 2020, which would allow the country to finance all government spending, except for debt-servicing costs, without issuing new bonds.

The final version of the manifesto will be compiled in late June.

The draft does not specify the DPJ’s position on constitutional revision or the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations, with opinion in the party divided.

Muroi gives up Diet seat

Kunihiko Muroi, who has decided to leave the Democratic Party of Japan, filed a letter of resignation with the Upper House on Wednesday in the hope of running again this summer for a different political party.

“My plan is to run in the Upper House election through proportional representation,” Muroi, 66, told reporters. He did not say which party he will join.

Muroi filed his departure from the DPJ last month.

The DPJ, which had planned to endorse Muroi as a candidate in the proportional representation segment of the election, urged him to give up his Diet seat if he quit the DPJ.

Muroi was first elected in the more powerful Lower House in 2003 but failed to return in the 2005 general election. He regained a Diet seat in the 2007 Upper House election.

He was parliamentary secretary in the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.