The Democratic Party (DP), the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the Liberal Party (LP), and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) held their first working-level meeting at the Diet on Jan. 10 to discuss common policies for the next House of Representatives election. A key issue is whether the four parties will be able to agree on nuclear power plant policy, on which the DP differs with the other parties.
The DP’s Policy Research Committee chair Hiroshi Ogushi, the JCP’s deputy policy chief Akira Kasai, LP co-leader Taro Yamamoto, and SDP policy chief Hajime Yoshikawa participated in the meeting. They did not discuss specific policies but simply agreed to cooperate with the citizens’ group aiming at revoking the security laws, Shimin Rengo [Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism], and to continue discussions.
With regard to nuclear power plant policy, the DP abides by the policy compiled during the administration of the Democratic Party of Japan (the DP’s predecessor), “zero nuclear plants in the 2030s,” which tolerates the reactivation of nuclear plants with certain conditions. The JCP, the LP, and the SDP are opposed to the resumption of nuclear plant operation.
The DP is hoping to reach agreement with the other three parties under the general policy of “ending nuclear power generation.” On the other hand, the JCP and the other parties advocate opposition to reactivation of nuclear plants and an immediate end to nuclear power generation, which they want reflected in the four parties’ common policies.
Certain DP members are also calling for a shift in policy to opposition to the resumption of nuclear plant operations in order to demonstrate its policy difference with the Abe cabinet, which is promoting the reactivation of nuclear plants passing safety tests. The DP leadership’s decision on this will hold the key. (Slightly abridged)