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Ruling and opposition party heavyweights took to streets across the country to appeal to voters Saturday, the first weekend since the House of Representatives was dissolved Thursday for a general election, set for Oct. 31.

Sanae Takaichi, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, gave a speech in the city of Nagasaki, touting the party’s efforts to revitalize the country’s economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus crisis.

“After the election, the LDP will have a supplementary budget enacted as early as possible within this year to get the economy running again,” she said. “Now is the time to revitalize the Japanese economy damaged by the pandemic and support people affected by the crisis. After that, let’s work to make the economy strong again.”

Yukio Edano, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, delivered a speech in front of Kameido Station in Tokyo. He criticized Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also LDP president, for shelving a plan to increase tax on financial income, one of the key measures he advocated during the LDP presidential race last month.

Kishida “can’t take measures against vested interests that benefited from Abenomics,” Edano said. “Let’s regain decent politics that is reliable in difficult times.” Abenomics is the economic policy mix launched by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was in office between late December 2012 and mid-September 2020 for his second tenure, and inherited by Yoshihide Suga, the immediate predecessor of Kishida.

Yukio Edano, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, makes a speech outside the JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo on Saturday. | KYODO
Yukio Edano, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, makes a speech outside the JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo on Saturday. | KYODO

The official campaign period for the election for the all-important lower chamber of the Diet is set to start Tuesday.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, visited a shopping street in Tokyo’s Kagurazaka district, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

“I heard candid opinions from people of the shopping street,” he told reporters after the visit. “The central and local governments should unite to implement necessary policies, an area where Komeito has strength.”

In a speech in the city of Okaya in Nagano Prefecture, Tomoko Tamura, policy chief of the Japanese Communist Party, referred to the high-profile public records-tampering scandal involving the Finance Ministry over a huge discount sale of a state land plot to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, once linked to Abe’s wife, Akie.

“An LDP-backed administration can never uncover the truth (of the scandal). Through a regime change, we’ll open the door to politics that meets your requests,” she said.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito party, talks to a shop owner in Kagurazaka district of Tokyo on Saturday. | KYODO
Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito party, talks to a shop owner in Kagurazaka district of Tokyo on Saturday. | KYODO

Nobuyuki Baba, secretary-general of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), said in a speech in the city of Toyama that the party can keep the LDP on its toes.

Kishida has lost his “color,” Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki said in a speech in the city of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, noting that the LDP’s campaign pledges have omitted the prime minister’s signature policies.

Up for grabs in the general election will be all 465 Lower House seats — 289 for single-seat constituencies and 176 for proportional representation blocs.

Before the Lower House breakup, the LDP and Komeito had 276 and 29 seats, respectively, for a total of 305 seats. The CDP 110 had seats, the JCP 12 seats, Nippon Ishin 10 seats and the DPP eight seats.

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