Japan's Party of Hope seeks to distinguish itself from ruling LDP ahead of election

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-04 18:34:35|Editor: Liangyu
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TOKYO, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike's newly-formed party will look to scrap a planned sales tax hike instituted by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) bloc and seek further debate on the contentious issue of amending Japan's pacifist constitution, local media said Wednesday.

Citing informed sources, Koike's Party of Hope will also look to phase out nuclear power by 2030, Kyodo News said.

The new party is looking to unveil its election platform on Friday before official campaigning for the Oct. 22 election starts next week.

The party's election policies unveiled so far have been to distinguish it from the LDP, which holds some similar conservative views, such as those regarding the constitution.

Koike's party will "advance constitutional discussion, including on Article 9," which requires Japan to renounce war and the maintenance of "war potential," party sources were quoted as saying.

The LDP has been more assertive about its plans to make the first-ever contentious amendments to the constitution, such as specifically referencing the status of the Self-Defense Forces.

Party insiders also said it will pledge to reduce the number of lawmakers in parliament as well as cut their salaries, in a bid to depart from "politics shackled by vested interests."

A day earlier, the fledgling party unveiled its first contingent of candidates to run in the lower house election here.

The Party of Hope unveiled 191 candidates who will run in single-seat electoral districts in the 465-seat lower house.

Many of the candidates belonged to the main opposition Democratic Party which has effectively merged with the Party of Hope, although Democrats not upholding the party's views on the constitution or security were screened out of the process.