The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s manifesto for the Oct. 31 general election, announced Tuesday, has omitted many signature policies of new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is also the party’s president.
The development reveals a shift in the balance of power from the government to the LDP, the reverse of what happened during the tenures of his two immediate predecessors, Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga.
The manifesto for the election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, carries the slogan “Create a new era together with you,” reflecting Kishida’s catchphrase for his Cabinet launched last week.
The election pledges also include a commitment to “rebuilding a thicker middle-class layer with a new form of capitalism,” which Kishida is calling for.
However, many of Kishida’s signature policies — promised during his campaign for the LDP presidential election last month — are missing from the manifesto.
Among them are the establishment of a modern version of the Income Doubling Plan, introduced in the 1960s, and a financial income tax hike for wealth redistribution, issues on which Kishida himself has also become less vocal.
The manifesto makes no reference to a plan to enhance financial support for families with children to cover housing and education costs, which was a pillar of Kishida’s wealth redistribution measures.
The establishment of an agency for health care crisis management, as well as the appointment of special adviser for science and technology, is also absent.
Kishida’s party reform proposals including limiting the tenures of LDP executives were completely omitted, apparently after fierce opposition from party lawmakers.
On the other hand, the manifesto includes many conservative policies advocated by LDP policy leader Sanae Takaichi and Abe, who backed Takaichi in the first round of voting in the LDP election.
The platform does call for vigorous investment for crisis management and economic growth. Also included are the development of nuclear fusion power generation and the enhancement of deterrence, including through the acquisition of abilities to attack enemy bases and additional efforts to revise the Constitution.
An LDP source said that the government and the ruling party clashed harshly in compiling the manifesto. The party’s Policy Research Council, chaired by Takaichi, has many conservative members.
Another sign of the shifting power balance can be seen in the appointments of state ministers and parliamentary vice ministers, over which LDP Secretary-General Akira Amari is said to have exerted significant influence.
“Amari, Takaichi and Abe hold power, possibly reducing Kishida to a figurehead prime minister,” a former Cabinet member close to Kishida said.
Announcing the manifesto Tuesday, Takaichi stressed that it is the party’s platform, while saying that it would be fine if the government implements policies absent from the manifesto.
In an apparent warning to Kishida, however, Takaichi added, “The LDP will thoroughly check what the Cabinet wants to promote.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Source: The Japan Times