Government support slips whilst new party formed


The Japan Times is reporting that a new opinion poll published on Sunday shows that support for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet has slipped to 26.3 percent from 27.9 percent in August.

The same poll gives a Cabinet disapproval rating of 59.4% up from July when it was 59%. When asked about last month’s Senkaku Island’s incident, 55.9% said that they did not think the government handled it well, with only 39.7% approving.

The poll also gave ratings for party support. It put the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on 22.2%, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on 12.4% and a party still being formed, the Osaka Restoration Association on 17.6%.

The new party is being formed by the Mayor of Osaka, Tōru Hashimoto, and is believed to have secured the crossover of five members of the Diet. If that is the case then the party will be able to register as a national political party and is expecting to formally establish itself in mid-September.

Last weekend the party launched its manifesto, the “Eight Point Restoration” (“Ishin Hassaku”), which included the following pledges:

• abolish the Upper House
• halve the number of Lower House seats to 240
• introduce a system to directly elect prime ministers
• strengthen the functions of the Lower House
• cut Diet members’ political party donations and perks by 30 percent
• reform the top levels of the central bureaucracy, including the appointment of vice ministers and bureau chiefs by politicians
• open many lower level positions to non-bureaucrats
• introduce a regional system of government in place of the prefectural system
• strip central government of many of its current powers
• create between nine and 13 semiautonomous regional governments
• abolish the current local tax system
• turn the consumption tax into a regional levy
• support of Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade initiative
• end Japan’s dependency on nuclear power
• enhance self-defence measures
• lift the ban on election campaigning via the Internet.

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