The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan pledged Wednesday to revive Japan as an “all middle class” nation by promoting wealth redistribution.
In its policy promises for the Oct. 31 general election, the CDP vowed to effectively offer income tax exemption for one year for individuals with annual incomes of up to around ¥10 million and provide ¥120,000 in cash a year to low-income earners as emergency measures to deal with the novel coronavirus crisis.
The party also promised to lower the consumption tax rate to 5% from the current 10% as a temporary measure aimed at stimulating demand after the pandemic is contained.
To fund the tax breaks and cash handout, the CDP proposed introducing a progressive taxation system for companies so that major firms would pay more in income tax, and raising the maximum income tax rate for wealthy people.
The party further assured voters that it would beef up taxation of financial income, in stark contrast with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has effectively put off considering the measure.
Criticizing Abenomics, the reflationary policy mix launched by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for battering middle-class earners, the mainstay consumers, and widening income disparities, Edano said, “If wealth is redistributed properly, it will not be difficult to realize an all-middle-class society.”
“We were able to present a choice of government,” he stressed.
Besides economic measures, the CDP vowed to strengthen border controls, boost the country’s capacity for polymerase chain reaction tests and review existing plans to reduce the number of hospital beds and public hospitals in order to increase the country’s COVID-19 resilience.
The policy pledges also include banning the construction and expansion of nuclear power plants, introducing a selective dual surname system for married couples at an early date and scrapping the ongoing program to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in Ginowan in Okinawa Prefecture to the Henoko coastal district in Nago, another city in the southernmost prefecture.
Meanwhile, the CDP stopped short of clarifying its stance on the issue of constitutional revisions, due to an intraparty divide over the controversial issue.
“We can’t afford to use a huge amount of political energy on the issue now,” Edano said.
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