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Takashi Arimoto

【#823】LDP Presidential Candidates Should Discuss National Vision

Takashi Arimoto / 2021.09.01 (Wed)

August 30, 2021

We have some questions to ask to candidates for a presidential election of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party that will be officially announced on September 17 for voting on September 29. Those questions are about how they analyze current state of affairs surrounding Japan and what direction they want to lead Japan in.

The largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is led by remnants of a former Democratic Party of Japan administration that plunged Japan into the brink of ruin, having no qualification to assume power. Thus, the next LDP president will be entrusted to lead Japan as prime minister.

I would like to ask the LDP presidential candidates how serious they are in acknowledging that Japan faces a critical moment.

Attitude on China will be questioned

Autocratic China is stepping up its pursuit of global supremacy, advocating values that differ far from those in democratic countries. While the Senkaku Islands are Japan’s inherent territory, Chinese government ships have intruded into waters around the islands almost every day to plunge Japan into the brink of losing effective control on the territory. Afghanistan is feared to become a safe haven for terrorists again in the wake of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban’s comeback to power. In July, the Russian premier landed on Japan’s Northern Territories, acting as if the territories were its own.

On the occasion of his talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a Japan-U.S. joint statement saying that they underscored “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and that “Japan resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities.” We gave a high rating to his determination, which indicated that Japan crossed the Rubicon at last. Seeing Suga after the Japan-U.S. summit, however, I doubt if he recognizes he crossed the river.

The National Diet has given up on adopting a resolution criticizing China for serious human rights abuse in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region and elsewhere. Suga has left no trace in which he took the initiative in bolstering defense capabilities. Every LDP presidential candidate including Suga himself should make clear how to face China.

The Japanese government has issued multiple state of emergency declarations and other equivalent measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infections, dramatically restricting economic activities. While it is natural for the government to prevent the infections and the collapse of healthcare, a society for coexistence with coronavirus after massive vaccination is left uncertain. While Suga reiterates a decarbonization slogan, a requirement for new houses to have solar panels as proposed by Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi would weaken the Japanese economy.

Even in the face of such critical conditions, we are still complacent with a sense of peacetime that has continued for more than 70 years after World War II. The current crisis provides a good opportunity to reform Japan. Unless Japan grabs the opportunity, it would fail to be revitalized.

Show pathways to constitutional amendments

Given the above, I would like to ask each LDP presidential candidate to clarify how to tackle (1) constitutional amendments, (2) North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens, (3) stable imperial succession including a system for sons of former imperial family male members to come back to the imperial family, (4) the enhancement of defense capabilities including big expansion of defense spending and the possession of capabilities to attack enemy bases, (5) the strengthening of manufacturers to revitalize the Japanese economy, (6) stable energy supply through longer service lives for nuclear power plants and the construction of new and additional nuclear plants, (7) the abolition of the Science Council of Japan and (8) comfort women and other historical awareness issues.

The nation must be strong. I would like to support an LDP candidate who proposes prescriptions to strengthen Japan.

Takashi Arimoto is publisher of Monthly Magazine SEIRON at the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.