By TAKASHI NARAZAKI/ Staff Writer
October 8, 2021 at 14:55 JST
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, third from left, poses with other LDP executives, from left: Toshiaki Endo, chairman of the Election Strategy Committee; Tatsuo Fukuda, General Council chairman; Secretary-General Akira Amari; Sanae Takaichi, the policy chief; Masakazu Sekiguchi, the head of the LDP Upper House caucus; and Hiroshige Seko, the secretary-general of the LDP Upper House caucus. (Koichi Ueda)
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will call for stronger government authority to enforce measures, including hard lockdowns, to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a draft policy report.
The draft of the party’s campaign platform for the Lower House election expected on Oct. 31 also calls for stronger government power in national security issues.
Sanae Takaichi, the LDP policy chief, explained the draft to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Oct. 7.
After final wording is hammered out and if the LDP General Council approves the document on Oct. 8, the platform will likely be released early next week.
The draft says legal revisions will be made to give the government greater authority to stop pedestrian traffic and bolster the medical care structure to deal with the pandemic.
Other proposed changes would allow for hard lockdowns when infections spike. These changes were proposed by candidates in the LDP presidential election last month.
During that campaign, Kishida called for establishing a new agency to bolster the government’s ability to manage a public health crisis.
That idea was included in the draft platform.
The platform covers eight broad policy areas, such as foreign affairs, national security and constitutional revision.
Kishida’s plan to create a more robust middle class is also reflected in the platform’s proposals to provide tax incentives to companies that raise the salaries of their employees.
The platform draft also touches upon moves by the Chinese Coast Guard to use weapons against foreign ships. The draft calls for strengthening the Japan Coast Guard and increasing its cooperation with the Self-Defense Forces.
The draft also calls for heightened deterrence, including equipping Japan with the ability to prevent enemy nations from launching ballistic missiles from within their borders.
But the draft stops short of calling for first-strike capability against enemy bases.
The draft calls for doubling the defense budget to more than 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
Until now, annual defense spending has been kept under 1 percent of GDP.
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