The Democratic Party of Japan, holding its annual convention Saturday in Tokyo, adopted a 2003 policy platform stepping up criticism of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for failing to stop deflation or curb rising unemployment.

DPJ leader Naoto Kan said he is determined to “do everything that can be done” to replace the ruling coalition in the next House of Representatives election, which is expected to be called this year.

“The Koizumi Cabinet has not only been unable to hammer out proper policies, but has maintained measures that will only accelerate deflation,” Kan said in a keynote speech at the convention.

Lawmakers and local representatives of Japan’s largest opposition party came from across the country for the event.

Kan said economic policies will be the main focus of this year’s ordinary Diet session, which starts Monday. He will be the first opposition lawmaker to grill Koizumi at the session.

Kan said the “wrong way” of spending tax revenue is one of the major causes of the nation’s current economic slump. He then called for greater budgets for job-creating measures, such as the construction of nursery schools and welfare facilities for the elderly.

Hirohisa Fujii, secretary general of the Liberal Party, attended the convention and gave Kan’s speech high praise. The Liberal Party has been wooing the DPJ to join forces to survive a Lower House election.

DPJ executives have so far agreed only to make efforts to cooperate in Diet sessions and avoid competing against each other in some single-seat constituencies.

Kan said the government’s controversial war-contingency bills are not spelled out sufficiently. He criticized the government for not considering such situations as terrorist attacks against nuclear power stations or North Korean spy ships violating Japanese territorial waters.

The DPJ has already agreed on the need for such contingency laws.

Kan said the DPJ will submit its own version of contingency bills to the Diet during the upcoming session, but did not give any specific timeline.

The DPJ includes former Social Democrats who formerly opposed any wartime legislation for fear that it would give too much power to the government and infringe upon human rights.

The package of emergency bills is expected to be another hot topic in the Diet this year.

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