LDP Vows to Substantially Beef Up National Defense ahead of Election

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool via REUTERS
An F-2 fighter jet flies during a live-fire exercise conducted by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) at East Fuji Maneuver Area, in Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan, May 28, 2022.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party adopted Thursday election pledges including drastic strengthening of the country’s defense posture and its possession of counterattack capabilities.

The manifesto for the House of Councillors election this summer, approved at an LDP General Council meeting, takes account the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s missile tests.

“Japan is at a historical juncture in the post-World War II era,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also LDP head, said at the meeting.

He also said the manifesto contains “a number of measures for a new form of capitalism” that can double asset income.

Under its campaign slogan of “decision and execution,” the party focuses on diplomacy and national security, measures to cope with crude oil price spikes and domestic price upsurge, disaster response, and infectious disease control as four pillars of pledges to “protect the country.”

It also vows to “create the future,” highlighting Kishida’s new capitalism initiative, his digital garden city nation plan and constitutional revisions as its three key goals to achieve.

Specifically, the LDP said it aims to increase the country’s defense spending to “a necessary level” in the five years from fiscal 2023, starting next April, in view of NATO member countries’ commitment to defense spending equivalent of 2 pct of their gross domestic product.

To tackle rising prices, the party will maintain a government subsidy program for oil wholesalers to curb fuel prices and introduce measures to prevent opportunistic price hikes of everyday goods.

Regarding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it pledges to secure domestically produced drugs and vaccines and enhance the government’s command function to prepare for another crisis in the future. Powerful support for the transport and tourism industries is also part of the manifesto.

Pledges associated with the new capitalism include “creating the first era in 25 years of full-fledged pay growth” through hikes in minimum wages and tax incentives for companies to pay more to employees and “realizing a society where asset income can double” by promoting a shift from savings to investment.

The LDP also said it “will actively hold dialogue meetings and carefully explain to the public the necessity” of early revisions of the Constitution, including one for mentioning the Self-Defense Forces in war-renouncing Article 9.