Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced on Oct. 12 its election manifesto for the Oct. 31 general election, focusing on the epidemic and confronting the Chinese Communist Party. Photo shows Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Toru Hanai-Pool/Getty Images)
Japan will hold a general election for the House of Representatives on Oct. 31. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced its election manifesto on Tuesday (Oct. 12), focusing on ending the New Crown virus (CCP) pandemic, promising to rebuild the middle class, and confronting the CCP.
Opinion polls show that LDP President and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has gained a reasonable level of public support after one week in office, signaling that the LDP and ruling coalition Komeito’s goal of maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives is expected to be achieved.
LDP focuses on ending the epidemic and rebuilding the economy
“We want to show practical measures and appeal to the people, first and foremost, on how to deal with the coronavirus …… and bring peace of mind and hope to the people.” LDP political poll chairman Takashi Hayao said at a press conference.
Voters want to see a government with a plan that can take decisive action to end the outbreak and rebuild a weak economy. A recent poll by the Sankei newspaper showed that about 48 percent said they wanted a Kishida government that could best deal with the epidemic, followed by economic recovery and jobs.
The LDP manifesto released Tuesday highlighted measures to prevent the epidemic, including the provision of oral antiviral drugs this year, as well as Kishida’s vision for a “new capitalism” that focuses on economic growth and wealth redistribution.
The LDP manifesto said it would expand support for small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the outbreak and provide subsidies for companies entering new industries.
LDP vows to boost defense budget to defend against Chinese Communist threat
Another focus of the LDP’s campaign manifesto is security issues. The LDP said it would “reconsider” its response to the expansion of Chinese military activities near the Taiwan Strait and the disputed Sino-Japanese islands in the Western Pacific.
The LDP said the government will aim to increase the defense budget “to 2 percent or even more of gross domestic product (GDP).
Japan’s defense spending has remained at about 1 percent of GDP in recent decades.
After Fumio Kishida announced his candidacy for LDP president last month, he repeatedly told the media in high profile that if elected, he would make countering the Chinese Communist Party a top priority.
Fumio Kishida said that China’s “authoritarianism and dictatorship are spreading”. He argued that Japan must “respond resolutely” to the stability of the Taiwan Strait and to human rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and “uphold universal values such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
Japan’s Defense Ministry on Aug. 31 requested a 5.4 trillion yen ($49 billion) defense budget for fiscal year 2022, aiming to accelerate the enhancement of capabilities in new areas and promote the development of new technologies in response to the growing military presence of the Chinese Communist Party.
This budget amount would exceed the record amount allocated in the preliminary FY 2021 budget (¥5.3 trillion), making Japan’s defense budget rise for the tenth consecutive year, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. This budget does not include expenditures related to U.S. military bases in Japan, which amount to about 200 billion yen per year.
An opinion poll by the Japan Broadcasting Association (NHK) shows Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with a 49% approval rating, lower than some previous prime ministers when they first took office, but higher for Kishida’s government than his predecessor Yoshihide Suga’s recent approval rating.