All CDPJ leader hopefuls back cooperation with JCP

The Yomiuri Shimbun
From right: Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leadership candidates Chinami Nishimura, Kenta Izumi, Junya Ogawa and Seiji Osaka debate at the Japan National Press Club in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — All four candidates in the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s Nov. 30 leadership election said Monday that the main opposition party should continue its cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party toward next summer’s election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament.

During a debate hosted by the Japan National Press Club, the candidates also said the CDPJ-JCP cooperation has to be modified after it failed to achieve results in the Oct. 31 election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber.

Seiji Osaka, 62, former special adviser to the prime minister, said the two parties should hold fresh talks on the JCP’s “limited non-cabinet cooperation” if the CDPJ rises to power.

Junya Ogawa, 50, former parliamentary vice minister for internal affairs and communications, suggested that the public did not understand what the limited cooperation means. “There are points we should review,” he said.

Chinami Nishimura, 54, former state minister of health, labor and welfare, claimed that the JCP’s non-cabinet cooperation was abruptly agreed between top party officials and that gaining understanding from other party members for such an agreement is difficult.

CDPJ policy chief Kenta Izumi, 47, noted that the JCP was not the only cooperation partner for the CDPJ from the beginning. “We have been aiming for total opposition camp cooperation.”

Also in the debate, the four candidates sounded positive about accepting discussions on constitutional reform.

With the ruling Liberal Democratic Party requesting talks on constitutional reform, Osaka said that the discussions should be held “in a quiet environment.” He added that a national referendum to amend the Constitution “would not produce results that earn the trust of the people” unless there are sufficient restrictions on related commercials.

Ogawa said that he would welcome debate on constitutional amendment “as a practical matter.”

Izumi expressed his readiness to hold “necessary discussions in the Commission on the Constitution” of each parliamentary chamber.

Nishimura also indicated her eagerness to discuss constitutional amendment, adding, however, that she would like first to see the stance of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration.