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Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012
Aichi boss woos Hashimoto with policy platform
OSAKA — In a move expected to accelerate tieup talks with his ally, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura's political group Chukyo Ishin no Kai has announced a like-minded policy platform for the next Lower House election.
Like Hashimoto's Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), Omura's group is promising to push for eliminating the prefectural system and establishing new regional jurisdictions. It will also campaign on direct public elections of the prime minister and for turning the consumption tax into a local levy.
In addition, the platform unveiled Monday supports Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade regime and calls for lowering corporate taxes. It also calls for eliminating nuclear power by 2030 and switching to renewable energy sources.
The platform of Chukyo Ishin no Kai, a group mainly of politicians in Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefecture, is virtually the same as that of Osaka Ishin no Kai, and Omura has said a major aim is for his and Hashimoto's groups to agree to cooperate in advance of the next Lower House election.
"I've passed off our policy platform to Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui and am discussing it with him," Omura told reporters Monday.
Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, a former ally of Omura who has grown distant from Hashimoto, is now a rival of the Aichi governor and plans to form his own national-level party. He criticized the Chukyo Ishin no Kai platform as being no different from Osaka Ishin no Kai's.
"It's like the Chukyo (Aichi-Gifu-Mie region) is a subcontractor of Osaka," Kawamura said Monday.
Omura's announcement came only a couple of days after former Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru, a longtime supporter of Hashimoto, was named a special advisor to Chukyo Ishin no Kai. Relations between Omura and Hashimoto have grown closer in recent days, especially as former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose Cabinet Omura served in, has been approached by Osaka Ishin no Kai members seeking his support to form a national party.
"Osaka Ishin no Kai's way of thinking, the direction we want to take Japan, and our values are in line with Abe's," Matsui said Tuesday.
A number of Diet members from the ruling and opposition camps have been approached by, or have approached, Osaka Ishin no Kai about forming a national party. Such status requires the membership of five Diet lawmakers.
Hashimoto said Tuesday that no decision had been made on his group's status, but he wanted open discussions on the issue.