The following is a comparison of policies advocated by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his sole challenger, Ichiro Ozawa, for the Sept. 14 election to pick the leader of the ruling DPJ:
Regarding economic/fiscal policy, Kan will:
• Address unemployment as a priority.
• Promote economic growth, fiscal consolidation and social welfare services.
• Debate the consumption tax in the course of discussions on social security reform.
• Implement economy-boosting steps immediately using ¥2 trillion in reserve funds in a fiscal 2010 budget.
• Pursue every possible means including market intervention to contain the yen’s ascent.
Regarding the election platform, Kan will:
• Aim to implement monthly child allowances and other campaign promises the DPJ made for the 2009 general election, but seek public acceptance if it proves difficult to implement any of them due to fiscal constraints.
• Attempt to implement the 2009 campaign promises.
• Raise child benefits to ¥20,000 a month in fiscal ’11 and pay the full amount of ¥26,000 in fiscal ’12 and beyond.
Regarding foreign/security policy, Kan will:
• Deepen Japan-U.S. relations, build relations of trust with Asian nations and push for an East Asian community.
• Implement relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa based on the Japan-U.S. accord signed in May.
• The Japan-U.S. alliance is the most important bilateral relationship for Japan and closer ties with the United States will be sought. Japan’s relations with South Korea and China are the second-most important. An East Asian community will be built including Pacific Rim economies on the premise that the two neighboring countries will cooperate.
• He will hold fresh dialogues with Okinawa and the U.S. on the Futenma issue to find a solution that can gain understanding from both sides.
Regarding political/administrative reform, Kan will:
• Seek clean, open politics.
• Conduct thorough discussions on banning donations from companies and organizations and reducing Diet seats so party policy on the matters will be decided by yearend.
• Totally ban “amakudari,” whereby national public servants land jobs at corporations in the sectors they oversaw.
• Reduce the number of civil servants and transfer them to municipalities.
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