TOKYO – The National Governors’ Association on Wednesday urged national parties to include in their campaign pledges stronger measures against the novel coronavirus ahead of the House of Representatives election at the end of the month.
The organization of Japan’s 47 prefectural governors also called for the establishment of a children’s agency and the promotion of rural economies to be included in the parties’ campaign platforms.
It will formally ask the parties on Thursday to reflect the organization’s proposals in their campaign pledges and seek to collect replies from all parties by next Wednesday with the results to be announced at a later date.
“We want (the issues) the governor’s association has been appealing to be reflected in each party’s discussions,” said Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai, who heads the entity.
The latest proposals include analyzing the country’s response to the fifth wave of coronavirus infections this summer with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, and preparing for a potential sixth wave as well as swiftly presenting a plan to give people a third COVID-19 vaccine shot.
They also include increasing subsidies to support local businesses affected by the pandemic by about 2 trillion yen ($17.9 billion), establishing a new agency for a comprehensive policy on children, and other measures to help revive local economies and enhance readiness for disasters.
Until the last lower house election in 2017, the association had been rating campaign pledges released by the parties on its own to judge how much they reflected its proposals. But this time, it will seek answers to each proposal from the parties.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who became Japan’s leader on Monday, has said he will dissolve the lower house on Oct. 14 for an election on Oct. 31.