Major policies included in the government’s “Plan to Realize the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens” overlap with what the leading opposition Democratic Party has long advocated. It seems that the government is trying to water down the impact of policy issues that the opposition parties will likely emphasize during their campaign for the upcoming House of Councillors election by presenting those ahead of them.
The government and the ruling parties had not been very enthusiastic about the “equal pay for equal work” initiative that the opposition parties had long advocated as a policy priority. But the “Plan to Realize the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens” highlights a commitment to realize a “positive cycle of growth and distribution.”
The plan stipulates raising the monthly salary of experienced daycare workers by about 40,000 yen at most as a counterweight to the DP’s call for a 50,000 yen raise across the board. It also includes measures to increase child-rearing allowances and improve working conditions for nursing care workers, which the LDP is planning to incorporate in its campaign platform for the Upper House race.
The DP is growing vigilant toward these moves. At a Lower House Committee on Budget meeting on May 16, DP leader Katsuya Okada said with a tinge of irony, “I am surprised to hear Abe mention something similar to our (harmonious society) vision.” He pointed out that “[the plan] contains few perspectives on redistribution and reducing disparities.” Abe argued “I have never denied [the importance of] redistribution.” The battle over who came up with the idea first will likely continue with an eye on the Upper House election. (Abridged)