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The Democratic Party of Japan on Thursday unveiled a detailed cost-cutting manifesto for the next House of Representatives election, expected to be held in November.

The nation’s largest opposition force is promising to slash wasteful government spending by 2.5 trillion yen in fiscal 2005.

The 16-page manifesto contrasts sharply with that of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, whose election promises are listed on just one sheet of paper and feature few numerical targets.

Election pledges issued by Japanese political parties are often vague and largely ignored once an election is over. Yet calls for realistic numerical targets have mounted recently, prompting a rush among parties to compile manifestos.

The DPJ is also promising to make the nation’s expressway networks toll-free within three years, excluding those in the Tokyo and Hanshin metropolitan areas, if it unseats the Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition.

Under the DPJ’s plans, Japan Highway Public Corp. and the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority, both of which are debt-ridden semigovernmental bodies, would be abolished.

Their debts would be paid off over a 60-year period with tax revenues currently allocated toward road construction, the DPJ said.

The DPJ is also pledging to abolish 18 trillion yen worth of expenditure-specific subsidies allocated to local governments. The party instead plans to introduce lump-sum revenue transfers that local governments can use at their discretion.

It is promising, moreover, to revise resident registration legislation so that the names of non-Japanese nationals who marry Japanese nationals will be written on resident cards if requested.

Under the current system, a foreign national and a Japanese national cannot prove that they are living together by using a resident card alone. This often creates problems for non-Japanese living in Japan, according to DPJ policy chief Yukio Edano.

The DPJ has, nevertheless, declined to address several key issues in its manifesto, including the privatization of postal services — a key Koizumi policy proposal — and a prospective hike in the consumption tax rate.

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