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2017 Lower House Election / Koike stresses departure from crony-based politics

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kibo no To leader Yuriko Koike speaks about the upcoming House of Representatives election in Tokyo on Monday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunYuriko Koike, the leader of Kibo no To (Party of Hope), called for a departure from politics constrained by special interests ahead of the upcoming House of Representatives election.

When asked during a Monday interview in Tokyo about Kibo’s key issues for the election, Koike, 65, who is also governor of Tokyo, said the election will address whether parties seriously tackle reforms.

“We’ll make efforts to depart from politics strongly constrained by specific interests, which has consumed the current administration. When we take the issue of the Kake Educational Institution as an example, we have to say this is a national strategic special zone [specially made] for Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe’s close friend,” she said.

“I’d like to ask the public about resetting Japan with real reforms.”

Regarding central campaign promises, she stated that policies concerning the consumption tax rate hike are most important.

“It’d be a waste of time if we only discuss the use of revenue that comes from the tax increase. It’s necessary to comprehensively address the issue, including discussions on social security, business conditions and the future Japanese economy,” Koike said. “That’s why we’re using the expression ‘reset [Japan].’”

“In order to secure the financial resources necessary to enact policies, we’ll consider selling unused national assets while reducing wasteful spending. Our party aims to wipe out the people’s future anxieties and create various paths of hope for household budgeting, education and child-rearing, among other issues. And we’ll put together a road map for eliminating nuclear power generation by 2030,” Koike added.

Asked about whether Kibo will cooperate with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on revising the Constitution, Koike replied: “We’ll participate in debate on the issue. As a whole, constitutional reform should cover a wide range of issues as well as Article 9 and should be deeply discussed. The current debate has been made only for the purpose of amending the Constitution itself.”

With respect to specific issues subject to revision, she first emphasized decentralization of power.

Koike said: “When I became governor, I realized again the reality that local governments cannot survive unless they obey what the central government says. Our party will reform the current framework so that local governments can revitalize themselves. The integration of House of Councillors constituencies to reduce vote-value disparities, and other factors, have delayed regional revitalization.”

As to what would constitute victory or defeat in the election and possible post-election cooperation with other parties, she said: “This is an election for voters to select a governing party, so, of course, we aim to seize power. We’ll consider cooperation with other parties when the election results come out.”

Asked about criticism of Kibo’s acceptance of ideologically divergent Democratic Party members as a union of convenience, she answered: “We have started by working together on basic policies such as constitutional revision and nuclear power generation. Those who make such a criticism should remember the coalition administration under former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, which comprised the LDP, the Social Democratic Party of Japan and New Party Sakigake.” Speech

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