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DPJ to play up dark side of ‘Abenomics’ in Upper House poll

Kyodo

The Democratic Party of Japan has unveiled a final draft of its campaign platform for July’s House of Councilors election, criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies.

The platform of the DPJ, which lost power in the Dec. 16 general election, also attacks Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party for rushing to revise the pacifist Constitution, the draft showed Monday.

Currently the largest opposition party, the DPJ will stress the “strong side effects” on the economy from “Abenomics,” aimed at beating chronic deflation with large budgetary spending, bolder monetary easing and other stimulus, and will warn of “various concerns, such as excessive weakening of the yen and vicious inflation.”

“Abenomics is turning into something that could devastate people’s lives,” DPJ leader Banri Kaieda told a news conference. He pledged that his party will protect people’s livelihoods “while upgrading pension systems and medical services through comprehensive social security reforms.”

The DPJ plans to argue there is a need to improve public finances by revising government spending, promise fiscal discipline legislation to halve the country’s primary budget deficit by March 2016 and vow to achieve a surplus five years later.

The party will also vow to boost the economy with a growth strategy focusing on promoting energy-efficient technologies, increasing exports of agricultural and fishery products, and assisting small and midsize firms.

On the Constitution, it will stipulate its opposition to any move by Abe to amend Article 96 to ease the rules for initiating constitutional reform. “We oppose relaxing conditions for revision without discussing what is to be revised” first, the draft platform says. It is believed Abe is angling to ultimately amend the war-renouncing Article 9.

Among other pledges, the DPJ will promise Japan’s exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations unless the nation’s interests can be protected, and to end operations at all nuclear power plants by the 2030s.

The party is scheduled to finalize its campaign platform later this month. Voting in the Upper House election will likely take place July 21.