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Ruling parties rush to revise campaign pledges for Upper House election

In light of the postponement of the consumption tax increase, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito each held internal meetings on June 2 to speed up the revision of their campaign pledges for the House of Councillors election.


The main issue in drafting the pledges is explaining how they intend to strike a balance between improvement in social security and fiscal health.


Yesterday the LDP held a meeting of its Policy Research Council (PRC) responsible for formulating election pledges, where council chair Tomomi Inada was given a free hand on this matter. However, participants in the meeting asked how social security can be improved with reduced revenue sources due to the tax hike delay and how to explain to voters that deficit-covering bonds will not be issued.


Based on discussions at the PRC, the LDP leadership will revise campaign pledges affected by the tax hike delay for approval at the General Council on June 3. These pledges will be announced on the same day.


In light of the opposition’s criticism that putting off the consumption tax increase is a betrayal of the ruling parties’ previous pledges, the LDP intends to come up with policies to improve social security even without the consumption tax increase by indicating in its pledges that policies will be prioritized and revenue sources streamlined.


Inada told reporters: “Deficit-covering bonds will not be issued for the purpose of improving social security, but we will work for improvement by securing revenue sources properly.” Another senior LDP official said: “We will come up with convincing pledges to show the world that Japan is a country that upholds fiscal discipline.”


Komeito held a meeting of its Committee of Standing Directors on June 2, where they affirmed the need to step up efforts to formulate campaign pledges. The party plans to announce the pledges by June 9. Among its key policies, it is likely to rewrite the pledge for “smooth implementation” of a lower tax rate for certain items, the introduction of which Komeito had championed, because the consumption tax hike has been postponed.


Meanwhile, the LDP and Komeito have decided to forego their plan to draft a common platform that was to be called “major policies of the ruling parties.” This is because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s delaying his announcement of the tax hike postponement to June 1 has significantly affected the two parties’ original schedule for formulating these proposed policies. A senior Komeito official indicated that “since there are differences between us on such issues as constitutional revision, there is really no need to draft such a document.”

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