(Mainichi: February 23, 2016 – p. 3)
There are wide differences in the policies of the five opposition parties that aim to field unified candidates. Advocating a policy of “opposition to the Abe administration,” the five parties intend to push forward with cooperation as they have jointly submitted a bill to abolish the security laws. However, discrepancies in their security policies are conspicuous. There is concern that they will be criticized for forming an unprincipled political coalition.
Yukio Edano, secretary of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), indicated that the five parties will form a coalition to abolish the security laws as they are unconstitutional. He told reporters that “(the five parties) share constitutionalism, democracy, and a sense of crisis about people’s daily lives. These things will become major campaign issues in the House of Councillors election this summer.” However, there is no denying that their policies lack concreteness. Last December, the DPJ and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) put together a set of common policies premised on their merger in the future, but it appears to be difficult for them to formulate a similar common policy with the Japanese Communist Party (JPC), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the People’s Life Party (PLP).
At a meeting on Feb. 19, the top five party leaders confirmed a policy aimed at scrapping the security legislation and retracting the cabinet decision to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense. However, there remain gaps in the specifics of their security policies. On Feb. 18, the DPJ and JIP submitted to the Diet three bills to counter the security bills.
In connection with constitutional amendment, which will become a major focal point of the campaign for the upcoming Upper House election, the DPJ, the JIP and the PLP approve of constitutional reform, but the JCP and the SDP oppose it.
The DPJ and the JIP take the position of promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in principle, while criticizing the details of the TPP broad agreement. However, the JCP, SDP, and PLP are opposed to the TPP itself. (Abridged)