Japan Election Candidates Debate Policy

Japan’s party leaders lay out their key policies at a debate held in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 18, in a bid to win the national election on Oct. 31.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised to unite the nation divided by the corona virus pandemic. He introduced what he described as a new type of capitalism that would raise basic wages in Japan.

Kishida dissolved the lower house of Parliament last week, paving the way for Japan’s first election since the pandemic. Kishida replaces Yoshihide Suga, who only lasted a year as prime minister.

Support for Suga slumped. He has been seen as arbitrary in his handling of the coronavirus and has insisted on holding the Tokyo Olympics despite an increase in cases.

Voters will decide how Japan deals with a possible coronavirus resurgence and revives its shattered economy.

The election is a test of whether Kishida’s government can emerge from the shadow of the conservative party that has held power for nearly nine years. According to observers, the conservative party is so dominant that it silences dissenting views. [ka/ab]

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