The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will launch an all-out effort to boost Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Abenomics policy if it wins big in the Upper House election next month, LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki vowed Friday.
“Whether to go ahead with Abenomics or not — that is the biggest question to think about in this election,” Tanigaki said during a group interview at LDP headquarters.
“We will forge ahead with Abenomics by implementing all sorts of policies.”
Tanigaki’s remark came as the LDP gears up for an election it is promoting as an opportunity to seek a public mandate for Abe’s controversial economic strategy.
Abe insists the program has paid off, citing an increase in jobs and wages and a decline in corporate bankruptcies over the past few years.
The opposition parties call Abenomics a fiasco, noting that under Abe’s stewardship, real GDP growth shrank and irregular employment increased.
Overshadowed by the LDP’s push to emphasize Abenomics is the thorny issue of constitutional revision. Revising the U.S.-drafted national charter, seen by some nationalists as a humiliating legacy of Japan’s World War II defeat, is Abe’s dream and the long-held goal of his party.
If the LDP and other pro-revision forces, including Komeito, its junior coalition partner, and Osaka Ishin no Kai win enough seats to secure a more than two-thirds majority in the Upper House, it would theoretically allow Abe to call a national referendum on amending, instead of reinterpreting, the Constitution.
Tanigaki played down that possibility.
“Japan has no experience revising the Constitution. Amateurs like us shouldn’t hurry and try something that is too difficult. I think what we need to do first is seek approval or some sort of basic understanding from the biggest opposition party before” actually amending the Constitution, he said.
In the meantime, Tanigaki was unstinting in his criticism of the opposition camp — namely the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party — as they collaborate on their common goal of scrapping divisive security bills enacted by the Diet last year that they say will turn Japan into a pro-war nation.
The laws, which allow the Self-Defense Forces to fight overseas for the first time since WWII, will not only beef up Japan’s deterrence but “help our nation contribute to efforts by the international community to create peace,” Tanigaki said.
He also said the laws, which took effect in March, have “brought the Japan-U.S. alliance to a new level” amid North Korea’s repeated nuclear provocations in recent months. They will take on even greater significance should Britain exit the European Union — a scenario Tanigaki said “would greatly affect not only the economy but the worlds’ framework to promote peace.”
“The DP and JCP keep saying they will cooperate to scrap the security laws. But that’s basically the only point of argument they agree on,” Tanigaki said, adding the two parties were fraught with ideological and political differences.
“I don’t think they are capable of leading national politics.”
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