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Japan's Party of Hope unveils some election pledges in direct opposition to ruling LDP
From:Xinhua  |  2017-10-06 18:42

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TOKYO, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike's newly-formed Party of Hope unveiled on Friday its platform for the upcoming lower house election, with some of the pledges in direct opposition to those of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)

The Party of Hope, which comprises a number of lawmakers running on its ticket from the effectively disbanded Democratic Party, has said it aims to wrestle power from the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oct. 22 election.

The party has outlined its manifesto and election pledges, in advance of official campaigning next week, its bid to ensure thorough debate on some contentious issues and the breaking of topics deemed "taboo."

"To challenge taboos, we have put into this platform proposals that other parties haven't been able to say, or that they have wanted to propose but found themselves unable to propose," Koike was quoted as telling a press briefing on the matter.

In regards to the controversial plan to amend Japan's constitution for the first time, Koike's party has pledged to "advance (the matter) through debate between the ruling and opposition parties."

Koike stated that while debate on constitutional amendment should go ahead and be extended to include the pacifist Article 9 clause, the public's right to know should also be upheld.

In opposition to the ruling camp's drive, the Party of Hope has promised to freeze a planned consumption tax hike from 8 to 10 percent slated for October 2019 and pledged to phase out nuclear power in Japan by 2030.

Koike said again on Friday that she has no intention to run herself in the election and has no plans to relinquish her position as Tokyo governor.

"I have been hearing various opinions, but as I have said from the start, I will thoroughly work in the metropolitan government," the party leader was quoted as telling a press conference.

The question remains, however, as to whom the party would pick as prime minister in case the newly-formed party ousts the LDP coalition in the upcoming election.

The Party of Hope earlier in the week unveiled 191 candidates who will run in single-seat electoral districts in the 465-seat lower house.

But Koike has previously said she would be fielding at least 233 candidates in the general election, in a bid to wrestle power away from the administration of Abe in the lower house.

Due to some Democrats not upholding the party's views on the constitution or security being screened out of the process of joining the new party, six former members of the effectively disbanded Democratic Party submitted to the internal affairs ministry on Tuesday an application to officially form a new political party.

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano will act as head of the party of the new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

The Party of Hope has absorbed the conservative factions from the moribund Democratic Party, but political watchers have said that time is running out for the party to reach its quota of 233 candidates.

Party sources said Friday one more candidate has been signed for election race, with the total number of hopefuls currently standing at 203, some way short of the 233 needed.