LDP platform for July poll to push reactor restarts

JIJI

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party platform for this summer’s Upper House election will probably include a pledge to restart idled nuclear reactors.

A draft of the LDP policy package, on which its Upper House poll platform will be based, calls for the government to take responsibility for restarting reactors. For the December Lower House poll, the party platform said it would leave the judgment on reactor safety up to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

For all the idled reactors, which at present total 48, the party will aim to decide within three years whether any can be restarted, the draft says. The government will take responsibility for restarting any reactors judged safe by the NRA after communities hosting the power plants give their OK, it says.

The draft also says that in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations, Japan will “protect what it should and push for whatever (is) necessary to pursue the best way that meets Japan’s national interests.”

The party clarified in the draft its goal of exempting five items, including rice and wheat, from tariff abolition sought in the U.S.-led negotiations and seeks to double farmers’ income in the next 10 years in light of concerns among agricultural organizations over Japan’s entry into the talks.

Given the changing security environment, including the recent rise of China, the draft promises to continue to increase defense spending as appropriate to secure the necessary equipment and personnel for the Self-Defense Forces.

On pension reform, the draft says the party will make necessary reviews based on the current system, maintaining the same line as in its Lower House election pledge.

The draft follows the same policy on constitutional amendments as in the Lower House poll platform, saying the party will pursue a revision first to Article 96, which states the requirements for proposing constitutional amendments.