Sapporo, Nov. 21 (Jiji Press)–All four contestants in the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s upcoming leadership poll stressed Sunday the need to unify opposition candidates in prefectural constituencies where only one seat each will be up for grabs in next summer’s House of Councillors election.
They held out the views, regarding if the CDP should continue election cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party in the triennial poll for the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament.
The four candidates in the Nov. 30 CDP leadership election delivered street speeches and held a debate in Sapporo, the capital of the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido, Sunday, kicking off local campaigning activities for the poll.
With the election seen to be a close contest, the four candidates are aiming to attract as many votes as possible from local assembly members of the CDP and rank-and-file party members and supporters.
The four candidates are Seiji Osaka, former special adviser to the prime minister, Junya Ogawa, former parliamentary vice minister for internal affairs and communications, CDP policy chief Kenta Izumi and Chinami Nishimura, former state minister of health, labor and welfare.
The election comes as Yukio Edano quit as leader of the CDP earlier this month to take responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the Oct. 31 general election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet.
On opposition cooperation in the Upper House election, Osaka said, “It’s very important for opposition parties to unify candidates in single-seat prefectural constituencies to enable one-on-one battles with candidates from the ruling coalition.”
But he also said, “The situation differ substantially from prefecture to prefecture,” indicating that specific local circumstances should be taken into consideration when work on candidate unification is carried out.
“Opposition parties should make efforts to put up unified candidates” as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, are certain to unify their candidates, Ogawa said.
“I will do everything I can to help opposition parties unify candidates,” Izumi said.
“We’ll have no chance to win unless we set the stage for one-on-one battles in single-seat constituencies,” Nishimura said.
On constitutional amendments, all four candidates said that discussions should be held at both Diet chambers’ commissions on the Constitution.
Izumi said, “We need to discuss restrictions on television commercials” related to a possible national referendum on constitutional revisions, given that a national referendum law amendment for improving voter convenience in such a referendum has been enacted.
Meanwhile, Izumi, apparently keeping in mind the LDP’s constitutional reform plans, said that some issues can be handled under ordinary laws so it is wrong to try to deal with them through revisions of the Constitution.
The four candidates will hold local campaign events for the CDP leadership election in the city of Fukuoka, the capital of the namesake prefecture in southwestern Japan, on Tuesday and in Yokohama, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, on Thursday.