Economy, inequality dominate final speeches on eve of Japan election

Tokyo, Oct 30 (EFE).- Japan’s main political parties reiterated Sunday their varying approaches to boost the economy and counter inequality, on the eve of the country’s general election.

Measures to revitalize the world’s third largest economy and mitigate growing societal inequalities have become the dominant issues of the electoral campaign, along with tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aspires to revalidate the mandate of the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), with a plan focused on combining economic growth and redistribution of wealth, representing a turn from the “Abenomics” policies of the past years.

“We will revive the Japanese economy and make sure the fruits are enjoyed by everyone, not just a chosen few,” Kishida said Saturday in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

“The opposition is only thinking about redistribution, but [without growth] there will eventually be nothing to distribute,” said Kishida, who also promised to increase income for the middle classes.

The main opposition force, the progressive Constitutional Democratic Party, has blamed the ruling party for not having already taken the measures it is now promoting, despite having been in power since 2012, and it proposes more ambitious fiscal and labor measures to alleviate inequality.

“We have continued to make proposals for change. It’s up to you to make [that] change,” Yukio Edano told voters during a rally in the city of Kamakura, southwest of Tokyo.

The top two hopefuls for victory in Sunday’s election also differ on how to definitively leave the Covid-19 pandemic behind, at a time when Japan is recording minimal case numbers.

Kishida promises more hospital beds for coronavirus patients and booster vaccine shots from December, while Edano is committed to strengthening the authority of the government to take emergency health measures and to increase aid for the groups most affected by the pandemic.

Most of the polls indicate that the LDP will maintain its parliamentary majority with its coalition partner Komeito, although they also indicate that their broad dominance will be narrowed. EFE


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