Yuriko Koike's campaign pledges to oppose planned consumption tax rate hike

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, head of Japan's Party of Hope, at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan on Sept 28, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (THE JAPAN NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The new party led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is expected to take a stronger stand on the planned consumption tax rate hike.

Kibo No To, or Party of Hope, is set to use the stronger word of "oppose" rather that "freeze" which it has used so far, according to a draft copy of the party's election campaign pledges.

The draft, revealed on Wednesday (Oct 4), also stipulates that the party will seek "zero nuclear power by 2030". Regarding Article 9, it says the party will hold discussions on how the provision should be brought in line with the actual situation, including the existence of the Self-Defence Forces.

The party offers a realistic approach to security policy in the draft, while including a position to seek income redistribution - a stance closer to that of the Democratic Party - as a social security policy.

Kibo No To is set to announce its election campaign pledges this week.

On the consumption tax, the draft says that "if the raising of the tax rate is pushed through regardless of economic conditions, the economy will lose its momentum".

The party lists such preconditions for raising the tax rate as reductions in the number of Diet members and their salaries; Diet reform that sets the course for a unicameral parliamentary system; and suspension of spending on infrastructure projects that are unnecessary or not urgent.

If these measures are not realised, the party will "oppose" the tax rate hike, according to the draft.

As an alternative fiscal resource, the draft says the party will "consider taxing the internal reserves held by major companies, which total about 300 trillion yen (S$4 trillion)".

Kibo's draft stipulates that the party will "implement Koikenomics to invigorate the private sector" as Ms Koike's economic policy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is known for his Abenomics economic policy,

The draft also pledges to guarantee the public's minimum living expenses and increase disposable income by introducing a system to cap the total amount of out-of-pocket payments for medical, nursing care and child care services, and a system that guarantees a basic level of income.

In security policy, the draft says the party will "approve the limited use of the right to collective self-defence in missile defence and other measures", apparently with an eye on possible situations involving North Korea.

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