The Social Democratic Party’s campaign for the Sept. 11 general election will be a continuation of its same platform: Japan must maintain its peace stance, SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima said Thursday.
The SDP, a strong force a decade ago when then Socialist leader Tomiichi Murayama became prime minister in an uncanny coalition with its longtime arch foe, the Liberal Democratic Party, is now facing a life-or-death situation: Politics are becoming a system dominated by the LDP and the Democratic Party of Japan.
“It’s true that we’re in a difficult situation,” because the current electoral situation, involving single-member and proportional representation constituencies, is fostering a two-party system, Fukushima said.
“But (we) cannot stop our fight if a two-party system emerges, as the (LDP’s and DPJ’S) economic policies (converge).” They are both pushing for a society ruled by the law of the jungle, the Upper House member reckoned.
Fukushima figured both the LDP and DPJ are following the same line of reform, which favors winners and the rich, and seeks to change Article 9 to enable the nation to deploy the Self-Defense Forces for war.
“If the SDP fails to increase seats (in the Diet), Article 9 (of the Constitution) will disappear. If the SDP fails to increase seats, politics that favor winners will continue,” she said.
The SDP held six seats in the House of Representatives before Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the chamber on Aug. 8 when his postal privatization bills were shot down in the House of Councilors.
The SDP opposes Koizumi’s postal privatization plan, saying it will break up local postal networks and lead to the public’s financial assets being exposed to foreign capital.
As of Thursday, the party was fielding 38 candidates in single-seat constituencies and seven for the proportional representation blocs.
Fukushima said the party aims to double the number of seats it held before the Lower House was dissolved so the party can have have more influence in the Diet.
The SDP’s prestige has been falling since the early 1990s.
Deputy party leader Katsuhiko Yokomitsu recently defected to stand as a DPJ candidate in the election.
Fukushima said the SDP will do its best to make sure former leader Takako Doi gets a seat in next month’s poll. Doi is in fifth position on the party’s proportional-representation candidate list for the Kinki region.
The party also expects Kiyomi Tsujimoto, who gave up her SDP seat in 2002 after she was convicted of fraud for funneling state money for secretaries’ salaries into the party, to get a seat and go on to reinvigorate the party, Fukushima said.
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