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Interview with LDP election strategy chief Amari

  • May 31, 2019
  • , Kanagawa Shimbun , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

Kanagawa Shimbun sat down with Election Strategy Committee Chairperson Akira Amari of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and asked him about the party’s strategy for the upcoming House of Councillors election.


Question: What will be the points of contention in the upcoming upper house election?


Akira Amari: The U.S. and China are said to be fighting a second Cold War. How will the bloc of free nations stand together? The Trump administration is taking high-handed measures to reduce its trade deficits.This is causing a rift between the U.S. and European countries. Japan can hold them together and  only the Abe administration can do this. We want to emphasize to the public that Japan’s long and stable administration is an important infrastructure for the international community.


Q: The Abenomics economic policy is wobbling, isn’t it?


Amari: The final goal of Abenomics is to exit from deflation and put Japan’s economy back on a normal cycle. We will show the world once again that Japan can do this. We want to transform Japan into one of nations with the most advanced technological innovation and create a framework from which new products and services originated in Japan will spread worldwide. We will promote trilateral cooperation among the academy, industry and government to that end.


Q: What is your view on constitutional amendment?


Amari: We need to hold discussions on what are the problems of the constitution and what needs to be improved. Opposition parties refuse to even hold discussions. What do the people think about this stance of the opposition camp? Opposition parties insist that they will not discuss the issue under the Abe administration, which is unthinkable.


Q: How many seats will the LDP try to win?


Amari: We will aim to win a stable majority with the Komeito party together so that we can secure the chairpersons’ posts of important committees of the House of Councillors. In the upper house election held in 2013, the LDP won a landslide victory because the people had infinite hope for the Abe administration after the gloomy administration under the now-defunct Democratic Party that lasted three years and three months. I cannot promise that we will be able to exceed the number of seats we won at that time. In the upcoming election we will try to minimize the loss of seats. 


Q: What is your view on the rumored simultaneous elections for both houses of the Diet?


Amari: Holding simultaneous elections can be an opportunity or a risk. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will makes a decision about whether it is worth taking the risk in the scheduled election. I personally think the prime minister has yet reached a decision. 


Q: Opposition parties are preparing to field single candidates in most of the one-seat districts.


Amari: From the beginning, in preparation for the upcoming election, the LDP has planned to fight one-on-one contests against opposition parties in 32 single-seat districts. Our electoral analysis is based on the assumption that the LDP candidates will have to fight against opposition parties’ single candidates.


Q: What are the important factors for success?


Amari: Above everything else, the LDP must unite against the opposition camp. However, many of the LDP local chapters are divided and that is a headache for me. They need to put their differences aside. They need to bridge their differences for the sake of the common good. I want every LDP member to share the same understanding about the election.


Q: How will you win the young generation over to the LDP side?


Amari: The support rate for the LDP among the young generation is high but its voter turnout is low. We want to emphasize to the young generation that the LDP is a political party that champions the potential of diverse talents.

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