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Yukio Edano, leader of largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, highlighted a break with neoliberalism and regional revitalization based on natural energy as key party policies.

In a recent interview, Edano said he believes that the party, formed last month through a merger between the former CDP and the Democratic Party for the People, “has reached the starting line” to be recognized as an alternative to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party by coming up with a party platform that broke with neoliberalism, which has been a dominant doctrine for some 30 years.

But in order to actually take over power from the LDP, the new CDP finds it important to help the party’s prospective candidates in national elections steadily gain local support and make them sole opposition candidates in as many single-seat constituencies as possible through election cooperation with other parties, Edano noted.

On the policy front, Edano said his party will strive to shift society from over-centralization to decentralization by achieving regional revitalization utilizing natural energy resources.

“I’ve been paying attention to natural energy in a broad sense, including power storage and thermal insulation, as a future national strategy,” he said.

To support people struggling to survive the novel coronavirus crisis, Edano said his party is considering flexibly combining an income tax cut, a fixed-amount cash handout and a consumption tax cut.

“Given the current economic circumstances, it’s necessary in the short run to implement stimulus measures that would be the most realistic and effective without eliminating any options,” he said.

As for the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, which came into being last month, the opposition leader noted that although pursuing lower mobile phone charges is not bad, it is not something a government should adopt as a policy pillar.

The Suga government should first show how it will deal with the coronavirus pandemic and what kind of society it aims to realize, Edano stressed.

On the issue of the CDP’s cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party in the next House of Representatives election, Edano said the two parties share the view that the LDP-led government should be replaced.

While admitting that the CDP and JCP adopt different stances over the imperial system and the Japan-U.S. security alliance, he expressed hope that the maximum level of cooperation will be attained.

In the election for the 465-seat Lower House, to be held next year unless the all-important chamber of the Diet is dissolved earlier for a snap election, the CDP-led parliamentary group aims to field candidates in at least 233 single-seat districts, he added.

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