National security is one of the focuses in campaigning for the Oct. 31 general election in Japan amid China's maritime advances and North Korea's nuclear and missile threat.
While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party promised to increase Japan's defense budget and consider giving the country the ability to attack enemy bases, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is committed to a defense-only security policy.
"We'll work hard on security to save the people's lives and livelihoods from disturbing moves," Prime Minister and LDP President Fumio Kishida said in a speech in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, on Friday, apparently referring to North Korea's missile launches.
The LDP has promised to increase the government's defense spending, possibly to over 2% of the country's gross domestic product.
"Defense capability will be enhanced greatly," starting in fiscal 2022, it said.
Japan's defense spending has been generally limited to less than 1% of the country's GDP since then-Prime Minister Takeo Miki introduced a cap of 1% of gross national product.
The CDP promised to boost the country's defense capability under a defense-only security policy. For the defense of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Coast Guard's capability should be enhanced, it said. The Japanese-administered islands are claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, pledged to develop Japan's defense capability steadily. But leader Natsuo Yamaguchi warned that raising the defense budget to 2% of GDP is not acceptable to the public.
Many parties shared the same diplomatic policy, focused on Japan's alliance with the United States. The CDP called for a realistic approach to foreign and security policies.
The CDP, the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party called for an end to the government's project to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station within Okinawa Prefecture.
The JCP opposed boosting Japan's defense capability. It sought to scrap the Japan-U.S. security treaty.
Many parties, including the CDP and Komeito, pressed for improved human rights in China's Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The LDP said it will "respond in a calm and firm way" to human rights violations in China and a dispute with South Korea over wartime labor.
Many opposition parties and Komeito proposed that Japan ratify the U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty. The LDP pledged to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation but did not mention the treaty.
Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) pledged to enhance space and cyberspace defense capabilities, while the DPP said it will ramp up the Japan Coast Guard's capability.
Reiwa Shinsengumi promised to scrap national security laws that allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense. The SDP pledged to achieve peace by stopping militarizing the Nansei southwestern islands.
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