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The National Governors’ Association on Wednesday urged national parties to include stronger measures against the coronavirus in their campaign pledges ahead of the Lower House election at the end of the month.

The organization of the 47 prefectural governors also called for the establishment of a children’s agency and the promotion of rural economies to be included in the parties’ campaign platforms.

It will formally ask the parties on Thursday to reflect the organization’s proposals in their campaign pledges and seek to collect replies from all parties by next Wednesday, with the results to be announced at a later date.

“We want (the issues) the governor’s association has been promoting to be reflected in each party’s discussions,” said Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai, who heads the organization.

The latest proposals include analyzing the country’s response to the fifth wave of coronavirus infections this summer amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, preparing for a potential sixth wave and swiftly presenting a plan to give people a third COVID-19 vaccine shot.

They also include increasing subsidies to support local businesses affected by the pandemic by about ¥2 trillion ($17.9 billion), establishing a new agency overseeing a comprehensive policy on children and other measures to help revive local economies and enhance readiness for disasters.

Until the last Lower House election in 2017, the association had been rating campaign pledges released by the parties on its own to judge how much they reflected its proposals. But this time, it will seek answers to each proposal from the parties.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who became Japan’s leader on Monday, has said he will dissolve the Lower House on Oct. 14 for an election on Oct. 31.

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