Japan ruling and opposition party policy chiefs say wealth distribution key to boosting economy

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Policy chiefs of the ruling and opposition parties, in a television program Sunday, stressed the need to promote distribution of wealth in order to revive the economy, which has been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

This is apparently because Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims to start a new system of capitalism backed by a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution and also because the Oct. 31 House of Representatives election is approaching.

Sanae Takaichi, the Liberal Democratic Party’s policy chief, speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday. | KYODO

Sanae Takaichi, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said on the NHK’s program that the party will work on giving benefits to people in need and improving the usability of the government’s subsidy program for sustaining businesses.

“A majority of people are in support of the idea of promoting distribution,” Takaichi said. “Unless consumer sentiment improves, we cannot expect tax revenues to increase.”

Yuzuru Takeuchi, policy chief of Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, said the party, in addition to its proposal to distribute ¥100,000 per child aged 18 or under, calls for giving reward points worth tens of thousands of yen to holders of the My Number social security and taxation identification card.

Kenta Izumi, policy chief of the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, claimed that the economy did not go well because distribution was insufficient. “Concrete measures to promote distribution will make the difference,” Izumi said, seeking to temporarily lower the 10% consumption tax to 5%. To make up for a shortfall in revenue, Izumi proposed the issuance of deficit-covering government bonds and hikes in corporate and financial income taxes.

Tomoko Tamura, policy chief of the Japanese Communist Party, insisted that Abenomics, the reflationary policy mix launched by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and inherited by his successor, Yoshihide Suga, widened economic disparities. She called on the government to once again provide subsidies for sustaining businesses and benefits to help people pay rent.

Kohei Otsuka, deputy head of the Democratic Party for the People, noted that the hotel and tourism industries remain in severe situations and sought the implementation of support measures, including one to cover around 90% of fixed costs, for such industries.

Hitoshi Asada, policy head of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), said the consumption tax rate should be lowered to 5% and be kept at that level for about two years.

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