National / Politics

LDP July poll platform a rehash, stays vague on Constitution

by Ayako Mie

Staff Writer

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday unveiled a campaign platform for the Upper House election that largely regurgitates previously announced economic plans and fails to specify its agenda for revising the war-renouncing Constitution.

The platform was released 20 days later than its originally scheduled date of May 31. While many party members demanded that it be unveiled on time, LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi pushed for including the package of fanciful growth strategies and economic policies touted earlier this month.

The platform states that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “three arrows” of aggressive monetary easing, heavy fiscal spending and a growth centered on structural reforms and tax breaks, have cleared away the nation’s dark economic sentiment, although the recent optimism has been offset somewhat by weeks of jarring volatility in the markets.

Also repeated were Abe’s bold vows to double annual real gross domestic product growth to 2 percent in 10 years, and to halve the primary balance deficit by 2015.

To do that, the platform asserts that it will drastically cut one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, the perpetual demand of big business, and offer tax breaks aimed at encouraging capital investment. No specific details were offered. Also absent were details on the sales tax hike to kick in next April.

As for revising the Constitution, there was much debate within the LDP on whether to include plans to revise Article 96 among the pledges. The platform, however, only states that the LDP will aim to submit a bill to amend the supreme code based on a draft of its revision plan. Article 96 sets the legislative voting requirements for launching a referendum on changing the Constitution.

On atomic power, the party states that it will try to persuade communities that host reactors to assent to restarting them if their safety is confirmed, while pledging to push exports of nuclear power and other infrastructure.

In the process of hammering out the platform, a standoff took place between the LDP’s headquarters and its Okinawa chapter over the thorny issue of moving U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Even though the Okinawa chapter demanded the platform state that the air station will be kicked out of the prefecture, the platform only states that it should be moved to the Henoko area off Camp Schwab, as planned.

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