LDP, New Komeito to unify campaign pledges


Leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito have agreed to unify their campaign pledges in a bid to capture a majority in the July Upper House election, sources said.

New Komeito President Natsuo Yamaguchi proposed the idea at his talks with Prime Minister and LDP President Shinzo Abe on March 15, the sources said Tuesday.

The unified pledges are expected to call for speeding up the reconstruction of areas devastated by the March 2011 disasters and protecting certain farm products in talks to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

But the focus of the pledges may be the wording of proposed revisions to the Constitution, with the LDP more enthusiastic of revising it than New Komeito.

The unification of the pledges is aimed at strengthening their position before the poll for Upper House, where the ruling bloc lacks a majority.

The LDP and New Komeito, which together control the Lower House, aim to end the divided Diet and create a stable government that does not — as at present — require opposition support to get bills passed.

The unified pledges will be based on agreements made between the LDP and New Komeito following their Lower House election victory last December that ended the Democratic Party of Japan’s three years in power.

The two parties have agreed to prioritize reconstruction from the 2011 disasters. They also seek to promote foreign policy based on the Japan-U.S. alliance.

The pledges regarding the TPP are expected to call for the retention of tariffs on key farm products, while protecting the country’s universal health insurance coverage.