The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan unveiled its campaign platform Wednesday for the general election this month, pledging to achieve economic growth by reducing inequality and poverty.
Underscoring the need to distribute wealth, the CDPJ is aiming to allocate a substantial budget for medical care, education and other public service sectors to ease the burden on lower- and middle-income households while increasing taxes on rich individuals and large companies.
"We will ask those who have benefited from Abenomics to pay a fair share," CDPJ leader Yukio Edano told a press conference, referring to the policy mix implemented by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his successor Yoshihide Suga, which the opposition says has caused the gap between the rich and the rest of the population to widen.
In a bid to revive the coronavirus-hit economy, the party promised to effectively exempt people who earn less than about 10 million yen annually from paying income tax.
It is also looking to give cash handouts of 120,000 yen per year to low-income individuals and temporarily lower the consumption tax from the current 10 percent to 5 percent. To finance anti-virus measures, the CDPJ promised to draw up a supplementary budget worth more than 30 trillion yen.
As for energy policy, the campaign platform included realizing carbon neutrality, with the party opposing building new nuclear plants.
The CDPJ is seeking to one-up Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose vows to reduce wealth disparity are in question after he walked back plans to review Japan's capital gains tax.
Kishida has said he will dissolve the House of Representatives on Thursday for a general election on Oct. 31. Victory for his Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito would give him a mandate to implement a large stimulus package to deal with the pandemic.© KYODO