Tamaki Yuichiro, the representative of the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP), responded to an interview with the Sankei Shimbun. Tamaki discussed DPFP’s voting for the FY2022 budget on the condition of lifting the freeze on the “trigger clause” to reduce the gasoline tax, and the DPFP’s position for the upcoming Upper House election. Interviewed by Ohashi Takushi.
Sankei: Why did you agree with the budget proposal?
Tamaki: People focus only on how our vote relates to the unfreezing the trigger clause. In fact, when we asked all the Diet members whether they agreed with budget proposal before the trigger, they were evenly split. Our party decided to negotiate for the trigger clause as stated in the party pledge. We agreed to the budget in the end, since we saw that the government will take action to lower gasoline prices.
Sankei: Other opposition parties criticize the DPFP as moving to become a “ruling party.”
Tamaki: We gained seats in the Lower House election last fall. I felt that people wanted us to move Japan forward with good policies and wisdom regardless of whether we were a ruling or an opposition party. I felt that we will not be able respond to the current situation with our traditional political posture, where ruling parties agree [with the government] and opposition parties disagree.
In a certain labor union (belonging to the Japanese Trade Union Confederation [Rengo]), many active members were in favor (of the DPFP response), while the retired members tended to be discontented. I have no time to deal with the conflict between the ruling and opposition parties, when industries are under pressure to undergo a rapid change.
Sankei: There is an Upper House election in the summer. What is your relationship with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ)?
Tamaki: I have no intention of partnering with political forces that insist on unrealistic diplomatic and security policies in the midst of a tense international situation,. How can we deal with security? It would be dishonest to go into the election without clarifying major contradictions. The CDPJ and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) will make certain promises on policy when they cooperate to jointly field candidates. We will have to agree to the promises if we join their effort, but we can’t do that.
Sankei: Do you plan to respond to the CDPJ’s call to cooperate in jointly fielding one candidate (per district?)
Tamaki: I think it would be quite difficult. In the first place, the CDPJ has not released a framework for the opposition as a whole even though it is the largest opposition party. The Nippon Ishin no Kai (Ishin) is a major player. It doesn’t make sense that Ishin is excluded from cooperation in fielding candidates. It is meaningless to pick and choose when cooperating on candidates.
Sankei: How will the DPFP campaign in the election?
Tamaki: The next Upper House election is not an election to choose among the ruling and opposition parties. The opposition parties will be selected based on their ideas. Do the ruling parties also need to undergo change? I think that there will be some shakeout among the ruling and opposition parties. We would like to cooperate with a party with which we agree on necessary policies regardless of whether it is a ruling or an opposition party to build a relationship that will lead to realization of our goals.
Sankei: There are rumors of the DPFP joining the ruling party coalition after the Upper House election.
Tamaki: There is no concrete plan. In the Upper House election, we will run against the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as an opposition party, so we want to first survive the election as a party rather than think about the future.
Sankei: What are the issues in the election?
Tamaki: There should be three points of discussion in the Upper House election: diplomacy and security, economy, and energy. There is no discussion of energy security in the government’s economic security promotion bill. The DPFP submitted a comprehensive economic security bill to the Diet, and we would like our ideas to be included. We have realized that Japan is in an extremely vulnerable situation due to the limited power supply. We should restart nuclear power plants that meet safety standards.