National / Politics

Nippon Ishin pledges to 'clarify historical facts'

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) unveiled a set of policy pledges Thursday for the Upper House election next month, including a promise to push for decentralization of government power and revise the postwar Constitution.

The right-leaning party led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara also vowed to “clarify historical facts” on the “comfort women” military brothel system and “protect the dignity and honor of Japan and the Japanese people.”

In May, Hashimoto caused a major uproar by saying the comfort woman system was necessary for Japanese forces during the war. Now the party is trying to tone down the controversy for the upcoming campaign.

“We’d like to appeal (to voters) mainly by advocating administrative reforms,” policy chief Hitoshi Asada said at a news conference in Tokyo.

Nippon Ishin retained most of its policy pledges from the December Lower House election, including a promise to reorganize prefectures into larger and more powerful regional states and introducing a system allowing voters to determine the prime minister via a national election.

Nippon Ishin vows to equalize the financial burden in the public medical insurance system, with participants paying according to income instead of age. Under current rules, people aged 70 and older pay much less than younger people.

“We’d like to attach more importance to (young) working generations,” said Hiroshi Nakada, Nippon Ishin’s deputy policy chief.

In its platform adopted in March, Nippon Ishin said it would push for “drastically revising the Occupation Constitution,” which was drawn up by the U.S.-led Allied forces after Japan’s surrender in World War II.

But in its latest pledges, Nippon Ishin, like the Liberal Democratic Party, only said it wants to revise Article 96 and make it easier to get constitutional amendments through the Diet before voters make the final call.

Many pledges lack details on how they would be achieved.

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