Kishida calls for unity at party congress to win upcoming elections
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday called on ruling party lawmakers to unite to secure a victory in the upcoming House of Councilors elections and secure a stable coalition government as Japan faces “historic” challenges. such as COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. .
Kishida, who spoke as chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party at his convention, stressed the importance of his coalition with his junior partner Komeito, dismissing the emerging view that their relationship has become embarrassing over the cooperation during the elections, possibly in July.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech during the 89th regular meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, led by him, at a hotel in Tokyo on March 13, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
“Is there any other option than the LDP-Komeito who can be tasked with governing the country when we face historical challenges? I don’t think so,” Kishida told the convention.
“Sometimes elections for the upper house have triggered a big political change. Let’s unite and ensure victory,” said Kishida, who was elected president of the LDP last September.
The party leader pledged to bolster Japan’s defense and advance the LDP’s goal of revising the Constitution, condemning Russia’s ‘reckless’ decision to change the status quo by force as a challenge to the international order and peace.
He also pledged to ensure a return to normal life after virus restrictions and to strengthen measures to mitigate the impact of rising crude oil prices and other prices.
The party convention came as the opposition People’s Democratic Party apparently moved closer to the LDP, a potential sign of a change in the political landscape.
In its campaign policy approved on Sunday, the LDP said it will “proactively promote political dialogue with Rengo and other friendly unions,” specifically mentioning the Japan Confederation of Trade Unions, which has been a major source of support for the opposition bloc, including the DPP. .
Kishida prioritized the distribution of wealth through wage hikes, a position shared by Rengo. “I hope to see aggressive wage increases in ‘shunto’ wage negotiations,” he said, adding that raising wages is not a cost but an investment in the future.
The Upper House election this summer is a key test for Kishida as LDP chairman and thus prime minister, as voters deliver a verdict on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the battered economy. by anti-virus restrictions and the war in Ukraine.
“The stage is set for cooperation in the election of the House of Councilors. We will review the situation in each constituency and seek substantial cooperation that will produce results,” Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said.
“I am convinced that there is no alternative to the PLD-Komeito coalition,” he added.
As the convention neared, Kishida met with Yamaguchi to confirm the strength of the coalition ahead of key elections.
The meeting came after the DPP, in a rare move from an opposition party, approved a draft budget for the business year from April in the powerful House of Representatives, as leader Yuichiro Tamaki said he got assurances from Kishida that the government would consider releasing a trigger clause, which would reduce gasoline taxes when crude oil prices spike.
There are fears that soaring fuel prices and rising food prices could dampen consumer confidence, dealing a blow to the economy. Some ruling party lawmakers are calling for additional stimulus to support the economy ahead of the election.
Yamaguchi on Saturday called for the release of the trigger clause and stressed the need to consider further measures to stimulate the economy.
The PLD has formally endorsed limiting the number of one-year terms its Secretary General and other top executives can serve consecutively to three, in line with Kishida’s pledge during his campaign for PLD chairman to reform the party. in power and to give new, younger faces a chance. to fill these positions.
When Kishida revealed the plan just as he announced his candidacy, it caused a stir within the PLD. He was later seen as targeting Toshihiro Nikai, a kingmaker who became the most senior general secretary after serving more than five years under Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga.
“We have to show that the LDP can change like Japan has to change,” Kishida said.
Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds its 89th regular meeting at a hotel in Tokyo on March 13, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo