PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Cabinet launches tirade against DPJ's election pledges
Wednesday 29th July, 06:44 AM JST
Members of the cabinet on Tuesday lashed out at the campaign pledges the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan unveiled Monday in the lead-up to the Aug 30 general election, with some blasting its economic steps as the ‘‘height of populism’’ or foreign policies as ‘‘extremely irresponsible.’’ ‘‘If I had to say it in one word, it is the height of populism or a massive bargain sale,’’ said Akira Amari, state minister in charge of administrative reforms. ‘‘But if such things continue, Japan will one day be shut down.’’
Amari is apparently referring to a set of the DPJ’s key economy-boosting pledges such as the provision of 26,000 yen monthly child allowances, scrapping of expressway tolls and waiving high school tuition. Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura shared his view, while also rapping the party for failing to show how to pay for the policies. ‘‘I have to say that these are irresponsible steps,’’ the top government spokesman said.
Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano cautioned, ‘‘Japan’s financial system will go into ruin (under a DPJ-led government),’’ noting that the DPJ’s manifesto includes no macroeconomic policies or no growth strategies.
He said the campaign pledges are policies it mapped out merely to woo voter support in the run-up to the election but that the handling of a government needs to entail ‘‘a sense of reality.’’
Yoshimasa Hayashi, minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, echoed that view. A responsible government must ‘‘make clear where money comes from and ask the public to shoulder a burden if necessary,’’ he said.
With the election coming up in only a month, the cabinet members also severely criticized the emboldened DPJ for its sudden turnaround from its opposition to the government’s dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces on an antiterrorism mission in the Indian Ocean.
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone expressed his resentment of the DPJ’s change in foreign policy, calling it ‘‘extremely irresponsible.’’
Citing the DPJ’s opposition to bills to extend the mission during Diet proceedings, ‘‘What was that all about?’’ he asked. ‘‘I believe that would be a betrayal to the people. How is the DPJ going to explain its turnaround to international society?’’
Nakasone also raised questions over the DPJ not highlighting foreign and security issues in five promises in the campaign platform, saying it is a reflection of its failure to show where it stands.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, meanwhile, said there are no longer differences in terms of national security between the DPJ and the LDP because of the DPJ’s change of its stance.
Some cabinet members were also critical of the DPJ’s plan to wrest control from bureaucrats.
Seiko Noda, minister in charge of consumer affairs, said, ‘‘I believe my work has gone smoothly thanks to the collaboration with national servants who have knowledge and expertise.’’