Four candidates to lead Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party and replace outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held their first major debates on Saturday, planning to tackle key issues such as China, COVID-19 measures, the pandemic-hit economy and climate. was discussed. change and energy.
Voting will be held on September 29.
Contenders include front-runner Vaccination Minister Taro Kono, former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, as well as two female candidates – an ultra-conservative former interior affairs minister Sane Takachi and former gender equality minister Seiko Noda, a diversity supporter.
Here’s a look at some of the candidates’ thoughts on key policy issues debated at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo:
Kono, who has served as foreign and defense ministers, said a possible conflict could not be ruled out amidst China’s growing assertiveness in the region and rising tensions over Taiwan, a self-governing island China owns its renegade. The province considers to be annexed by force when necessary. . He said Japan wants to use its security alliance with the United States and partnerships with Europe and other democracies to prevent Beijing from taking military action. He said Japan-China relations are also about the economy and people-to-people exchanges that require “tough diplomacy”.
Kishida said the summit and high-level dialogue are important for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue and plans to work with like-minded countries to counter Beijing’s “authoritarian approach”.
Anti-China Baz Takaichi, who shares former leader Shinzo Abe’s nationalist views and historical revisionism, proposed a contingency plan based on a worst-case scenario on a potential Sino-Taiwan conflict.
Noda said Japan is a regional linchpin for Taiwan’s stability and US-China tensions over trade, technology and human rights. He said that Japan should follow “pacifist” diplomacy based on the lessons learned from the defeat of World War II.
As a former foreign minister, Kishida urged Seoul to take the first steps to resolve a row arising out of South Korean court decisions that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to Korean Wartime workers.
On North Korea, Kishida said he would coordinate with President Joe Biden on steps to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, while exploring other avenues, including talks with the North Korean leader, to resolve the issue of Japanese civilians abducted decades ago by the North. Can go
Kono said he would accelerate missile deterrence and intelligence gathering under the Japan-US security alliance. He will also seek a summit with Kim Jong Un to resolve the abduction issue, which has no diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Kono said energy conservation, reducing fossil fuels and promoting renewable energy were his main strategies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. If this is insufficient, restarting nuclear reactors safely is inevitable, he said. Kono said the nuclear industry did not have much of a future, and supported the phasing out of nuclear plants. He opposes Japan’s emphasis on a nuclear fuel cycle involving spent fuel reprocessing – the main reason for Japan’s plutonium reserves.
Kishida supported fuel recycling as a way to delay final stockpiles, but Kono said the disposal of radioactive waste on a large scale is “a problem that anyone who becomes prime minister must tackle.”
Takaichi proposed underground compact fusion reactors as a safe and environmental alternative. Noda believes in geothermal power generation, as well as other renewable energy such as hydrogen and offshore wind power, as part of an ongoing 20 trillion yen ($180 billion) clean energy project over the next decade.
Kono said Abe’s signature “Abenomics” policy benefited only major companies but failed to increase earnings, and that he would address the problem by offering corporate tax incentives to companies that raise salaries.
Kishida said he would introduce Abe’s approach and the new capitalism (asterisk) of growth and distribution to reduce inequality worsened by the pandemic.
Takaichi said she would promote robotics and quantum computer development as Japan’s future growth strategy.
As Minister of Immunization, Kono proposed the use of digital technology to monitor the conditions of COVID-19 patients recovering at home, while introducing rapid test kits for early detection and isolation of patients.
Calling for strict social distancing and other measures, Kishida proposed a massive economic package to stabilize the health care system.
Takaichi called for a possible legal change to allow for domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and stricter lockdowns in case of future pandemics.
Noda proposed a nationwide installment of sub-hospitals that provide supplemental oxygen and antibody cocktail infusions for less severe patients, and financial support for those with income or job loss, especially women.