2017 Lower House Election / Kibo pledges tax hike freeze, no N-power

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Tokyo Gov. and Kibo no To leader Yuriko Koike explains the party’s pledges for the upcoming House of Representatives election at a press conference in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Friday morning.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Kibo no To (Party of Hope), the new party led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, released its pledges for the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election on Friday — including a freeze on the planned consumption tax rate hike and the realization of “zero nuclear power” by 2030.

Kibo says in its election pledges that a freeze on the consumption tax rate hike to 10 percent in October 2019 would be aimed at ensuring the country’s economic recovery. The party also says it intends to constitutionalize “the realization of ‘zero nuclear power.’”

Regarding constitutional amendment, the pledges say the party will discuss how the top law should be to reflect today’s society, including stipulating the existence of the Self-Defense Forces.

At a press conference on Friday in which the pledges were announced, Koike emphasized the party’s stance toward revising the top law, saying it “could generate a major trend toward constitutional amendment, because we are trying to discuss the issue squarely.”

In its election pledges, Kibo said it will tackle a wide range of issues related to the top law, including people’s right to know and more local authorities. For example, the party calls for revising Chapter 8 to include stipulations on “taxation autonomy and fiscal autonomy.”

Regarding whether a provision defining the legal grounds for the Self-Defense Forces should be added to the Constitution, Koike said, “We’ll decide after thoroughly examining whether it can win people’s understanding.”

Although Kibo opposed the consumption tax rate increase to 10 percent in its draft pledges, the finalized version adopted wording saying the hike “will be frozen.” The party listed conditions for raising the tax rate — including a cut in the number of Diet seats and lawmakers’ salaries; Diet reform that sets the course for a unicameral parliamentary system; and a thorough review of spending on unnecessary or nonurgent infrastructure projects.

As an alternative fiscal resource, the party included a plan to tax internal reserves held by major companies.

The party criticized the Abenomics economic policy package, saying “the general public doesn’t feel the economy is booming.”

As a post-Abenomics measure, Koike’s party is offering a “Yurinomics” policy that does not depend excessively on monetary easing and fiscal stimulus.

In the field of social security, Kibo is offering a policy closer to that of the Democratic Party, including the pursuit of income redistribution. Kibo’s pledges say it will guarantee minimum living expenses and increase disposable income for low-income earners by capping the total amount of their out-of-pocket payments for medical, nursing and other services. The pledges also say the party will guarantee a basic level of income.

The party also intends to establish a law to encourage an increase in the number of regular employees. Under the envisaged legislation, small and midsize companies that increase the number of regular employees they hire would be exempt from social insurance premium payments.

Regarding security policy, Kibo pledges to accept the existing security-related laws, saying the legislation “will be appropriately handled based on the Constitution” to deal with North Korea situations.Speech

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