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Interview: CDP chief vows to win more Upper House seats

Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)–The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is resolved to increase the number of seats in the House of Councillors through the next summer’s election, CDP leader Kenta Izumi said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

“We aim to field candidates in all constituencies (in the Upper House election),” Izumi said. “We’ll try to retake the seats we currently hold and win even more.”

The leading opposition party holds 23 of seats that will be up for grabs in the election. An Upper House election is held every three years. Half of the chamber’s seats are contested each time.

“The CDP hopes to unify candidates in all single-seat constituencies with various political parties, not just the Japanese Communist Party,” Izumi said. Then he showed intention to examine the feasibility of coordinating candidates in multiseat districts with the Democratic Party for the People.

But the new CDP chief stopped short of clarifying whether to strive to form a united opposition front as his predecessor, Yukio Edano, did in the Oct. 31 election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, through the Civil Alliance for Peace and Constitutionalism.

“I haven’t decided anything yet,” Izumi said. “I will consider how we can cooperate with other parties after finishing analyzing what we did and didn’t in the Lower House election.”

“The analysis is expected to be over in January,” he added.

Observing that many people see no major policy difference between the CDP and the DPFP, Izumi noted that the two opposition parties are required to present options that are different from those offered by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

“I think the two parties can work together to create new options, and I would like to have sincere discussions (with the DPFP),” he said.

Asked about the CDP‘s stance toward the constitutional revision issue under his leadership, Izumi said the party will take part in discussions at the Constitution commissions of both Diet chambers.

“It’s important to deepen discussions on matters related to the Constitution, including positive aspects of the current supreme law,” he said.

Meanwhile, Izumi criticized the LDP’s four amendment requests, including creating an emergency situation clause, saying they can be dealt with by mere law revisions.

On the proposal-based approach his party took during the extraordinary Diet session that ended Wednesday, Izumi highlighted his part’s 17 policy suggestions, particularly the one that called for making it possible to provide benefits worth 100,000 yen to people aged 18 or younger in lump-sum cash payments as a stimulus measure.

Pointing out that that proposal led the prime minister to change his policy on the handouts, he said, “It’s important to constantly present our party’s ideas without losing our critical power.”

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