2 Décembre 2012
December 3, 2012
By MASAMI ITO
Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada on Sunday unveiled her new party's hastily compiled policy platform for the Dec. 16 general election, calling for the elimination of nuclear power by 2022 and freezing the government's plan to raise the sales tax.
Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party) was formed just last week, but its campaign pledges already reveal the hand of Ichiro Ozawa, the former head of the Democratic Party of Japan and Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People's Life First). This includes a vow to distribute annual child benefits of ¥312,000 per child.
The kingpin and his followers merged with Nippon Mirai together with other small parties and former DPJ lawmakers.
Highlights of Nippon Mirai platform
Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party) will:
● Phase out nuclear energy within 10 years.
● Scrap the Monju fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture and the spent-fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.
● Provide annual allowances of ¥312,000 per child.
● Freeze the law for doubling the 5 percent sales tax rate.
● Oppose Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact negotiations.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Kada said Japan must fundamentally change its nuclear policy in light of the Fukushima disaster, which robbed many residents of their homes and livelihoods — and even their lives.
"March 11 became a major turning point for postwar politics. We want to stand up against the old political system, which has no self-awareness of the need to change and create new politics to ensure a safe future," Kada said.
But, like Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), Kada was also called out for a comment that suggested she had pulled a reversal on the key policy.
Kada, who said on a TV news program Saturday that nuclear reactors could be reactivated if the Nuclear Regulation Authority guarantees their safety, set off a wave of criticism and confusion over her party's position. She later retracted the statement and said that she was just giving a general explanation of the procedures and apologized for causing "a misunderstanding."
And in a separate outline explaining how the party will get rid of all 50 reactors in a decade, Nippon Mirai on Sunday stated that it will not restart any of the idled units and will halt the two reactivated reactors at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture. It will also prohibit the establishment of new plants, including those already under construction.
Nippon Mirai plans to spend the first three years reforming the nation's electricity generation system, including by separating the generation and transmission operations, and issuing government bonds to suppress the hike in electricity prices. The following seven years of the phaseout will be spent establishing a "fair" electricity and energy market by developing reusable energy sources and promoting natural gas, the outline said.
"This is the general framework and we plan to hold discussions with bureaucrats, experts with true knowledge, and the public to make sure this plan becomes solid. I am confident that this is a responsible road map of the general framework," Tetsunari Iida, Nippon Mirai's deputy chief, said.
Iida is one of the 109 Nippon Mirai candidates running in the election. About half are former lawmakers, including Ozawa, former farm minister Masahiko Yamada, former DPJ lawmaker Shozo Azuma and former Social Democratic Party member Tomoko Abe. Kada said that she doesn't intend to run and isn't eyeing next July's Upper House election, either.
At Sunday's news conference, Kada insisted her party is not a "single issue" party and stressed that Nippon Mirai will establish a minimum-guarantee pension system, reform the civil servants' system to control bureaucrats, implement "political leadership, and hand out up to ¥312,000 in child allowances until graduation from junior high school.
Sound familiar? These were almost the exact same policies put forth by the DPJ in its 2009 platform. Most were never put into practice.
And, like the DPJ, it is not clear just how Nippon Mirai intends to fund its key policies. Kada said her party will execute leadership by identifying and cutting wasteful spending.
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A new party launched by an antinuclear governor in western Japan unveiled its campaign platform for the upcoming general election Sunday and vowed to phase out nuclear power in 10 years.
Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada's party, named the Tomorrow Party of Japan, which has merged with a political party headed by powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa with around 50 lower house lawmakers and other small parties, seeks to become an umbrella party for antinuclear parties, ahead of the Dec. 16 election of the House of Representatives.
The nuclear issue triggered by last year's crisis at the Fukushima nuclear complex is shaping up to be one of the key election issues.
With official campaigning starting Tuesday, the four key political forces -- the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Japan Restoration Party headed by outspoken former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Kada's party -- are vying for the 480 seats up for grabs.
Along with the party led by Ishihara, Kada's party has drawn attention as another core of the so-called third force aiming to attract voters who are disappointed with major ruling and opposition parties.
The party also pledged to offer families 312,000 yen annually per child through junior high school graduation as a way to encourage women to give birth and engage in childrearing as the number of children in Japan falls.
It also promises to freeze the government's plan to raise the 5-percent consumption tax to 10 percent by 2015, saying that the rate hike during the current economic situation will cause consumer spending to drop further and lead to a decrease in tax revenues.
The party said it opposes Japan's participation in the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks out of fears that U.S. rules in such areas as food safety, medicine and healthcare will become the norm, replacing Japanese standards.