Democratic Party (DP) “Acting President” Renho, 48, held a news conference at the party headquarters on Aug. 5, where she announced her plan to run in the party’s election to elect the next president after Katsuya Okada in September. Regarding the constitution, Renho stressed, “I will definitely safeguard Article 9 because this is my political conviction.” She touched on the policy agreement with the defunct Japan Innovation Party, which calls for “working for the revision of constitutional provisions in tune with changes of the times,” and indicated that she will promote debate on constitutional revision as appropriate. She also said that the DP should participate actively in the deliberations in the Commissions on the Constitution in the extraordinary Diet session this fall.
Renho is a former TV personality, so she is very well-known. She received the highest number of votes in the Tokyo constituency for the House of Councillors election in July, obtaining some 1.12 million votes. She has the support of her DP colleagues belonging to the Noda group and is seen as a promising candidate for the next president.
Discussing cooperation with the other opposition parties in the next House of Representatives election, Renho said: “The basic framework will be maintained, but it also needs to be reviewed.” She indicated that she will basically adhere to the opposition united front policy, but was negative on forming a coalition government with the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), stressing, “It is impossible to form a government with a party that has a different political platform and policies.”
In terms of policies, Renho emphasized, “People think that (the DP) is only good at criticizing, but I would like to change it into a party that makes policy proposals.” She also showed a desire to become the first female prime minister, stating, “I would like to break the glass ceiling (preventing the empowerment of women).”
The official filing of candidacy for the DP presidential election is scheduled for Sept. 2 and voting will take place at an ad hoc party convention on Sept. 15. Former State Minister for Defense Akihisa Nagashima, 54, who is opposed to participation in an opposition united front strongly influenced by the JCP, is also planning to run.