By Shinichi Sekine, Staff Writer
Although running under the Kibo no To (Hope) banner in the Oct. 22 Lower House election, many former Democratic Party members disagree on key issues with others on their ticket who didn’t belong to the former opposition party.
The wide differences were found in a survey jointly conducted by The Asahi Shimbun and the research office of Masaki Taniguchi, professor of political science at the University of Tokyo.
Those who came from the Democratic Party are maintaining the former largest opposition party’s stances on issues such as the national security legislation and the consumption tax rate hike, the survey showed.
The Asahi Shimbun and Taniguchi’s research office surveyed all the 1,180 candidates in the election, including those of other parties. Of these, 97 percent gave valid responses.
Of the 1,180 candidates, 235 are running under the Hope ticket. Of these, 226, or 96 percent, gave valid responses.
The survey asked candidates their opinions on the passage of the national security legislation by the Abe administration. Among the candidates under the Hope ticket, 69 percent of those who had not belonged to the Democratic Party chose, “I have a positive opinion” or “I select a positive opinion if asked to choose between a positive or negative opinion.”
On the other hand, among those who joined the Hope after leaving the Democratic Party, only 10 percent gave that response. Meanwhile, 71 percent replied, “I don’t have a positive opinion” or “I don’t select a positive opinion if I am asked to choose between a positive or negative opinion.”
The Democratic Party had strongly opposed the national security legislation that passed the Diet in September 2015. However, Hope leader Yuriko Koike required Democratic Party members to effectively support the national security legislation as a condition to run in the election under her party’s ticket.
Hope says as one of its campaign pledges for the election that it will operate the national security legislation appropriately based on the Constitution.
Among all the candidates running under the Hope banner, 41 percent showed a negative stance to the national security legislation, while 40 percent gave an approval of it.
As for the consumption tax rate hike, the Democratic Party had said that it should be raised from the current 8 percent to 10 percent in October 2019 as scheduled. In contrast, the Hope is pledging to freeze the rate hike.
In the survey, 96 percent of those who are running under the Hope ticket but had not belonged to the Democratic Party chose, “I don’t have a positive opinion (of the rate hike)” or “I don’t select a positive opinion if I am asked to choose between a positive or negative opinion.”
On the other hand, among those who came from the Democratic Party, only 65 percent chose the same reply.
Meanwhile, 17 percent replied, “It can’t be said that (the rate hike) is good or not” and 18 percent chose, “I have a positive opinion” or “I select a positive opinion if I am asked to choose between a positive or negative opinion.”