Expanding party influence by focusing on local communities

February 25 , 2018

Yamaguchi addresses national conference of local party lawmakers on Feb. 24Yamaguchi (podium) addresses national conference of local party lawmakers on Feb. 24

Local legislators of Komeito gathered from across Japan to attend the party’s National Conference of Prefectural Representatives in Tokyo on February 24. Toward the 2019 nationwide local elections in the spring and Upper House elections in the summer, Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi and Secretary-General Yoshihisa Inoue called for expanding the party’s influence by focusing efforts on the local level, holding firm to their founding principles of listening to the voices of ordinary people, understanding their day-to-day needs, and ensuring their voices are reflected in government.

In his speech, Yamaguchi stated that he would push the government to take more effective measures to respond to the agricultural damage caused by severe snow in the northern prefectures. With this year marking seven years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, he stated he would be traveling to Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in early March where they plan to hold various meetings with locals to discuss how best to speed up recovery efforts and fight against the prevailing negative stereotypes associated with the region.

Yamaguchi also clarified that the party’s focus during this national diet session would be the following: to gain endorsement of their policy proposals for easing education costs; incorporating tax incentives for small- and middle-sized businesses—which are key to economic recovery—into the 2018 fiscal budget proposal; the early enactment of laws related to tax reform; and realizing work style reform policies while fortifying public understanding concerning them.

In response to North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile arms development, Yamaguchi stated that as part of the ruling coalition, Komeito would support the government’s position to strengthen cooperation with the U.S. and South Korea to increase pressure on North Korea toward denuclearization and realize a peaceful resolution to the crisis. In addition, he said he would push for the early realization of bilateral visits between the heads of Japan and China toward improved relations and for Japan to host a tripartite summit between China, South Korea and Japan for the peace and security of East Asia as soon as possible.

Yamaguchi further stressed that the Komeito’s solid network of local legislators has not only been the driving force for the promotion of national level policies but has also served to improve laws and policies that are in place by constantly assessing their impact on those on the ground level.