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Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012

ELECTION 2012

Kada party seen banking on Ozawa

Nippon Mirai hopes to utilize ex-DPJ don's power after poll


Staff writer

OSAKA — Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada's Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party) is expected to issue an 80-point platform Sunday that will be a combination of ideas espoused by Ichiro Ozawa's Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daichi (People's Life First), antinuclear groups, renewable energy advocates and supporters of Kada in Shiga, especially women.

Several other parties are reportedly in talks to merge with Nippon Mirai, which could end up fielding more than 70 candidates by the time official campaigning kicks off next Tuesday.

Ozawa's party, as well as another led by former Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) head Shizuka Kamei and Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, are now part of Kada's force.

Ozawa's presence has many of Kada's critics in established parties convinced he will be the real power behind the throne and that Nippon Mirai's campaign platform will be similar to the manifesto the Democratic Party of Japan issued in 2009 when Ozawa was in the DPJ.

Talks between Kada and Ozawa about forming a new national party began in September. Kyocera Corp. founder and current Japan Airlines Corp. Chairman Emeritus Kazuo Inamori, who is extremely close to both Ozawa and Kada, played a key role in bringing them together.

This took many political observers by surprise, given Inamori's stated support of nuclear power and his close ties to DPJ national policy minister and former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, who hails from Kyoto.

But Kyocera has large solar power manufacturing plants in Shiga and Inamori has supported solar power development in Japan for more than three decades.

While Kada has said Ozawa will not play a formal leadership role in the new party, Nippon Mirai's platform already contains ideas Ozawa has fought for. During a debate Friday between party leaders, Kada said she wanted to borrow Ozawa's power and influence to help weaken the bureaucracy.

In 2009, the DPJ's platform contained a provision for providing families an annual allowance of ¥312,000 per child, and Nippon Mirai plans to include this idea, with the same amount, in its manifesto.

In addition, Kada's party will use the Tokyo office of Ozawa's now-defunct party as its headquarters.

While the final platform will be released Sunday, Kada has already said it will contain about 80 points ranging from getting out of nuclear power to strengthening the role of women in society.

Other small parties are likely to join, or at least agree to cooperate after the election.

Individual politicians, including Social Democratic Party Lower House member Tomoko Abe, a child care specialist who recently quit the party, are also planning to sign up. Kada has indicated there may be local-level politicians in Shiga who might also be interested in running for the Lower House.



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The Japan Times

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