National / Politics

Reiwa Shinsengumi chief says fledgling party ready to cooperate with other opposition forces

JIJI

New political party Reiwa Shinsengumi is ready to cooperate with other parties under certain conditions for the House of Representatives election, leader Taro Yamamoto said in a recent interview.

“We’re willing to join forces with other opposition parties in the Lower House election if an agreement to bring the consumption tax back to 5 percent is reached,” Yamamoto said.

The consumption tax is scheduled to rise to 10 percent from the current 8 percent in October.

Yamamoto recently unveiled a plan for his party to field as many as 100 candidates in the next election for the House of Representatives, the powerful lower chamber of the Diet. This is a number to pursue if it decides to fight the election alone, he said. “We’ll cooperate if the opposition parties join forces.”

Reiwa Shinsengumi made an impressive debut in last month’s House of Councilors election when two candidates with severe disabilities won seats.

Yamamoto took a negative stance toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to revise the Constitution.

“It’s extremely dangerous for a person who doesn’t comply with the current Constitution to push for constitutional reform,” the leader said.

As for Okinawa Prefecture’s hosting of U.S. military bases, Yamamoto called for closing the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in Ginowan and scrapping the government’s plan to move it to Nago, a less crowded area of the prefecture.

He proposed that Tokyo pledge to provide financial assistance to the United States for a certain period of time to encourage Washington to move its military bases in Okinawa to the U.S. mainland.

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