LDP campaign platform reflects Abe's conservative beliefs

November 21, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Shinzo Abe’s conservative views on subjects ranging from child rearing to national security are prominent in the draft campaign platform of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.

The draft shows the LDP president’s determination to take care of the unfinished business he left behind when he abruptly resigned as prime minister five years ago.

The party’s draft platform also includes stances that are in direct confrontation to the more liberal policies pushed by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, including suffrage for foreign residents.

Abe was to announce the LDP’s platform for the Dec. 16 Lower House election after its approval on Nov. 21.

Some parts of the draft platform relate to the recent flare-up between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The LDP draft calls for permanently basing public servants on the uninhabited islands and creating an environment to enable more extensive fishing in the area.

In addition to converting the Self-Defense Forces into a national military, the platform calls for beefing up the Japan Coast Guard.

Those planks are an extension of the conservative course Abe set out for his administration when he became prime minister in 2006.

Among the measures that were implemented when Abe was in office were the passage of the national referendum law that established the procedures for amending the Constitution, the revision of the Fundamental Law of Education and upgrading of the Defense Ministry from agency status.

The LDP platform also mentions the establishment of a national security council in the prime minister's office and allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

These items were shelved when Abe left office after only one year, citing health problems.

When he was prime minister, Abe also stressed the importance of revising the Constitution as a way to change how the nation was governed.

The platform proposes easing the conditions for submitting constitutional revision proposals to the Diet to a simple majority in each chamber. Currently, approval of two-thirds of the members of each chamber is needed to submit such proposals.

The draft platform again pushes changes to the education system that Abe proposed when he was prime minister.

To correct what it describes as "the current irresponsible educational administrative system," the draft calls for allowing local government leaders to appoint the head of boards of education. Those board chiefs would be held responsible for dealing with matters that occur in school.

Boards of education have been persistently criticized for the slowness in dealing with bullying cases.

The platform also calls for revising the textbook screening process and reviewing the clause that states that the feelings of neighboring nations must be considered when deciding on what to include in textbooks.

The DPJ has been supported by the Japan Teachers Union, making the party incapable of carrying out true educational reform, the LDP’s draft platform said.

On economic policy, the draft calls for achieving 3 percent economic growth on a nominal basis by placing priority on pulling Japan out of deflation and countering the strong yen. A new body would be set up under the Cabinet to play a leading role in resuscitating the economy.

Reflecting recent statements made by Abe, the platform calls for closer cooperation between the central government and the Bank of Japan to allow for more drastic monetary easing measures. That would involve the signing of a pact between the central government and the BOJ to set an inflation target of 2 percent.

The draft platform also seeks an end to the liberal policies of the DPJ government. The LDP opposes moves to allow married couples to use different surnames, seeks to block the establishment of a human rights commission and rejects proposals to give foreigners the right to vote in local elections.

The LDP is calling for a return to a more traditional family structure, including having more than two generations live in the same home. The draft platform also describes as a mistake the DPJ policies that stressed having society as a whole raise children. The LDP calls for a return to having families assume primary responsibility for child rearing.

At the same time, the LDP platform avoids taking a clear stance on issues that the DPJ wants to highlight in the Lower House election campaign, which starts on Dec. 4.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has indicated he wants Japan to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade arrangement. His administration has also called for ending operations at nuclear power plants by the 2030s.

The LDP platform only includes more cautious positions on both issues.

It says that a decision on restarts of nuclear power plants would be made within three years. Regarding calls to end the nation’s reliance on nuclear energy, the platform only calls for the establishment of an economic and social structure that is not dependent on nuclear energy.

The platform states that the party opposes joining the TPP negotiations if the condition remains that no exceptions are allowed for the removal of tariffs.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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LDP President Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

LDP President Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • LDP President Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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