National

Majority of election victors back deployment of SDF to Iraq

More than half of those elected in Sunday’s House of Councilors election support or condone Japan’s deployment of troops in Iraq, while almost four in 10 have flawed pension payment records, according to a Kyodo News survey.

The poll results also show that almost 60 percent of those elected believe the nation’s various pension schemes should be unified.

The survey was conducted prior to Sunday’s voting on all of the candidates who ran in the election. Only the answers of the 121 who were elected were analyzed.

Regarding the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces units to Iraq, one of the two main issues in the election, 57 respondents — mostly from the ruling coalition — voiced support, while 51 voiced opposition, all from the opposition camp.

Among the eight who gave other responses, most voiced support for the dispatch under certain criteria.

In the ruling coalition, 44 of the 49 Liberal Democratic Party candidates who were elected and 10 of the 11 New Komeito victors voiced support for the deployment.

One LDP election winner expressed support for a one-year deployment, while one New Komeito member expressed approval for the deployment as long as the mission remains limited to humanitarian assistance. Four LDP winners did not answer the question.

Meanwhile, 40 of the 50 elected candidates representing the Democratic Party of Japan opposed the dispatch, while three supported it. All of the elected members of the Social Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party voiced opposition.

On the national pension system, the other main election issue, 37 percent admitted that they had failed to pay into or join the pension system for certain periods of time in the past, either before or after it became mandatory.

By party, this represented 24 percent of victors from the LDP, 27 percent from New Komeito and 54 percent from the DPJ.

The two elected SDP candidates and three of the JCP’s four said they had paid their pensions in full.

About 10 percent of Sunday’s victors did not respond to the question.

Regarding the various pension schemes, 59 percent said they should be unified, a proposal championed by the DPJ. Among these were 46 of the 50 DPJ winners, as well as 19 representing the LDP.

Moreover, 52 percent advocated raising the consumption tax to fund social security, another proposal advocated by the DPJ. As many as 20 winners from the LDP and one from New Komeito supported the idea, in addition to 39 from the DPJ.

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