Our Political Agenda and Priority Policy Objectives

New Komeito 2013 House of Councillors Election Manifesto (Special Abridged Version)


Stability is foundational to hope. Politically, that means consistency in terms of vision, leadership, action and achievement-a perfect description of New Komeito's political and parliamentary track record established over the years.

As we head toward the House of Councillors election on July 21, 2013, our party has issued the following manifesto, consisting of five core groupings, that outlines our political agenda and priority policy objectives in the weeks, months and years to come.

1) Post-March 2011 Rebuilding and Disaster Preparation Initiatives

  • Expand the pool of civil engineers and specialists to serve in reconstruction projects in the Tohoku region by reassigning additional manpower from local and national government agencies, and hiring retired civil servants and engineers, specialists who are in critically short supply in areas devastated by the March 2011 mega-quake and tsunami
  • Build in flexibility in laws, programs and regulations to fund reconstruction projects that are currently ineligible for public financing and support
  • Establish mental healthcare centers in provisional housing areas to provide counseling support for residents who are forced to live in prefabricated homes on a long-term basis
  • Under government supervision, develop programs facilitating the return of residents evacuated from the areas surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and which support the rebuilding of their lives and communities based primarily on local input and needs
  • Bring permanent closure to the Fukushima nuclear disaster by developing individual roadmaps to shutter each of the four damaged reactors, expedite onsite and offsite decontamination efforts and offer liberal government funding and related support
  • Develop and adopt a broad range of disaster preparedness and contingency programs-from preparations two mega-quakes that could strike Tokyo and/or the southeastern seaboard of Japan (the so-called Nankai trough) within 30 years, to a comprehensive examination of national infrastructure for repairs and upgrades-under the mandate of a basic disaster prevention law

2) Expanding Tangibility of Economic Boon

  • Target the following domains to promote national economic growth: energy and the environment; health and medicine; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); rejuvenation of rural communities and promotion of Japanese culture and tourism; women and young people; science and technology, including space and maritime exploration
  • Allocate funding and human resources, enhance coordination between the private and public sectors, and provide other support incentives for sustainable energy resource development, including conservation, resource exploration, exploitation and infrastructure, as well as smart-grid energy transmission systems
  • In the health and medical fields, establish a government institution modeled after the American National Institute of Health, while increasing the authority and resources for such agencies as Japan's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) to facilitate research, development and introduction of new drugs-particularly in the field of regenerative medicine-and medical systems
  • Double exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products through strategic marketing of core Japanese strengths in these fields and establish an intellectual property monitoring system to protect internationally competitive goods
  • Safeguard Japanese culture and the arts as assets, designating them as a growth driver and adopt various government initiatives and incentives to promote cultural and artistic development
  • Reinforce and expand Japan's infrastructure to attract foreign tourists through such measures as easing visa requirements, improving information access in foreign languages and upgrading facilities
  • Improve and enhance programs enabling SMEs to enter or further specialize in such growth fields as the environment, energy, health, medical systems, living assistance and care, with an emphasis on R&D support, incentives to support capital investment and research-to-market product cycles, and by providing a one-stop consultancy service for smaller businesses aiming to enter foreign markets
  • Provide government support for SMEs to acquire the experts and manpower necessary to expand marketing channels and strengthen their human resource base, particularly in terms of hiring young workers
  • Provide broad-based incubator support for women and young entrepreneurs, including cost of living subsidies, interest-free loans and grants, management counseling, facilities environment and other necessary assets
  • Ease regulations restricting entry of private enterprise and non-profit organizations (NPOs) from providing daycare services, thereby allowing women in Japan greater flexibility in rejoining the workforce following childbirth; offer special tax breaks to companies that provide women employees with in-house daycare services and extend the currently available public internship and trial employment programs for women seeking reemployment beyond fiscal 2014
  • Institute programs that aim to remedy a diverse range of issues involving young people today, from a preference to remain part-time, non-permanent workers and preference to work for larger firms in major cities, to the need for improved career counseling and internship initiatives
  • Establish a Japan-based satellite network that covers all of ASEAN to detect, monitor and evaluate regional natural disasters
  • Create a four-unit Quasi-Zenith Satellite System targeting mobile applications that provide video, audio and data services and positioning information that augments the Global Positioning System
  • Promote the exploration and commercialization of energy resources and other maritime resources, aiming at the extraction of methane hydrate as commercially viable fuel within 20 years, while developing offshore electric power generation systems or rely on waves, tides, ocean currents and ocean temperature gradients
  • Raise average national income by 10% over a ten-year period, a goal that will be achievable in part by drawing up new management-labor arrangements in which corporate earnings generated through productivity increases will be shared with employees and redressing the wage gap between permanent and non-permanent workers; companies that either adopt this arrangement or are actively engaged in hiring new employees will be provided special subsidies and tax incentives
  • Provide career advancement and placement support services for workers who have been restructured in aging industries, with an emphasis on retraining them to work in growth industries; a similar system will be available for retired workers
  • In way of supporting SMEs, extend a temporary subsidy for small businesses that are being hit by rising fuel costs driven by a weakening yen, while securing a stable source of LNG imports, particularly from the U.S.
  • Facilitate the matching of young people and SMEs through state-backed internship and training programs
  • Institute a phased abolition of a financial institution practice holding SME operators and entrepreneurs financially responsible for their insolvent companies, giving them with a "second chance" option to start new businesses; other initiatives include the promotion of non-recourse loans
  • Offer programs supporting NPOs and venture company startups that are based outside the major cities as a means to rejuvenate the job market in smaller communities; similar support will be extended to retired workers who seek employment in the agricultural or tourist industries
  • Provide medical and healthcare services in remote communities with information and communications technologies (ICT), particularly broadband Internet due to its wide range of public service applications in medicine, disaster prevention and preparedness, and other fields

3) Social Security and Education Reforms

  • Upgrade the Japanese daycare system by broadening the diversity of choices, augmenting the system with facilities that operate during non-standard hours, offer services for children stricken by serious ailments or are recovering from hospitalization, and other categories
  • Provide cost-free education to all infants during the three-year period before entering elementary school
  • Introduce programs enabling workers to choose between extended leave or shortened hours to care for parents requiring living assistance
  • Establish a community-based care system that covers medical, nursing and life assistance services for the elderly in the communities of their choice
  • Expand and enhance the range of preventive practices and therapies for such sedentary lifestyle diseases as diabetes and cardiovascular ailments, as well as promote radiotherapy and chemotherapy of various cancers, and emphasize medical training for a new generation of oncological specialists
  • Fast-track government certification of anticancer drugs in Japan that are found to be safe and effective in foreign markets
  • Reduce the maximum ceiling on medical bills for senior citizens aged 70 or older and earn an annual income of less than ¥3 million from ¥80,000 today to ¥40,000.
  • Fortify and broaden government funding and support for regenerative medicine R&D, including upgrading the environment for clinical research and testing, accelerating the health ministry certification process, recruitment of specialists and other infrastructure
  • Improve the level and quality of social security entitlements to low-income and zero-income citizens, as well as to the disabled
  • Expand the eligibility of nonpermanent and part-time workers to subscribe to public pension programs
  • Improve the national welfare program, with a principal focus on securing stable employment for subscribers who are capable of working while providing a level of benefits that more adequately addresses their quality of life needs; under our proposed program, subscribers who are willing to work will be provided with temporary placement and work training services, as well as subsidies for housing
  • Upgrade the assistance program for poverty-level children, providing them with equal opportunities in terms of healthcare and education, while extending viable financial support, including placement support for their guardians
  • Tackle the ongoing and escalating problem of bullying in schools by further improving the school counseling and student support system, which New Komeito served as architect and agent; among the improvements being sought are to increase the number of onsite counselors and creating a support environment in which bullied students can more readily communicate their problems
  • Strengthen the board of education system to cope with classroom bullying as well as corporal punishment by teachers by granting local boards the right and responsibility to monitor such cases, conduct a fair and equitable investigation into them and issue optimal judgment; other improvements include a review and revamping of board member selection and enabling local residents greater input into board operations and decision-making
  • Introduce comprehensive reforms to higher education, from the promotion of work internship and professional certification programs to improve placement and career choices for students, and expanded study-abroad opportunities and funding, to broader scholarship benefits and conditions, and enabling students to enroll from both the autumn and spring semesters
  • Extend and expand special education assistance support to disabled children, including prompt ratification of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Provide financing and related support to facilitate the transition to ICT-based education in schools, as well as providing disabled children with barrier-free learning environments

4) Decentralization and Government Reforms

  • Enact a basic law to transition to a more decentralized federal system and establish a Cabinet portfolio to facilitate the restructuring of Japan's 47 prefectures into ten or so states
  • Encourage national discussion on the decentralized system by setting up a special commission, examining various issues during its three-year life; among its top agendas will be to incorporate more thoroughly the views of local governments and communities, revamp highly centralized ministries, rejuvenate aging towns and villages, and improve public services
  • Improve fiscal transparency and accountability by adopting a plan, do, check and act (PDCA) cycle of government finances as a step to reduce mounting public debt and achieve a balanced budget
  • Launch a neutral third-party commission to identify, examine and assess wasteful outlays and other improprieties related to the 102 independent administrative corporations, as well as establish a system in which the operations of these quasi-state agencies will be publicly disclosed every year, and enabling unnecessary and excess funding to be returned to state coffers

5) Diplomacy Promoting Peace and Prosperity

  • Improve diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, Russia Federation and Republic of Korea by establishing routine summit meetings and dialogue between political and government leaders; at another level, promote exchange, particularly among youth of various countries, on the issues of sustainability, social security, education, and culture and the arts
  • Promote and reinforce international consensus against nuclear weapon and ballistic missile testing conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; re-open six-nation negotiations to resolve these issues with Pyongyang, including the abduction of Japanese and Korean citizens, by working more closely with China, Russia, South Korea and the U.S.
  • Adopt a special maritime communications protocol linking China and Japan to avoid inadvertent military clashes over the Senkaku islands
  • Facilitate cooperation and coordination among China, South Korea and Japan on a research, technological and educational level to address and resolve such environmental issues as PM2.5 (fine particulates from coal-fired electric power generation), yellow sand and acid rain that equally affect the three countries; establish a similar environmental cooperation regime that extends to all of East Asia, including ASEAN
  • While negotiating to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), concurrently take a leadership role in advancing discussions to establish the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific; New Komeito will also actively seek to develop protocols regulating international trade through such means as concluding an economic partnership agreement with the EU
  • Strengthen ties with nations that can provide Japan with a stable and affordable supply of natural gas and rare metals as part of a larger, strategic diplomatic effort to secure resources and energy supplies
  • Work for the adoption of a nuclear weapons convention while reinforcing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime; lobby the Japanese government to issue a binding and permanent declaration statement disavowing possession of nuclear arms; propose that a nuclear abolition summit be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015 in commemoration of the 70th year of the atomic bombing of these two cities
  • Allocate 20% of Japan's annual Official Development Assistance budget towards human security needs to redress such global issues as poverty, famine, substance abuse, infectious disease, environmental destruction, empowering women, providing potable water and disaster prevention