August 10, 2018
Tokyo- Former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba announced Friday his intention to run in the Japanese ruling party's leadership election in September.
Ishiba, 61, is the first to declare candidacy for the election. Unveiling his candidacy at a press conference, Ishiba pledged to implement citizen-oriented politics and carry out administrative reforms in an effort to restore public trust in politics.
Ishiba highlighted the importance of transparent, honest and fair politics and public administration, apparently keeping in mind favoritism and other scandals involving the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 63, current president of the LDP.
It will be the third time for Ishiba to run in an LDP leadership election. Ishiba said that he would carry out "a 100-day plan," including measures to restore trust in the prime minister's office and improve the operations of parliamentary business if he becomes LDP president and prime minister of Japan.
Citing problems facing Japan, including a fall in its population and population concentration in Tokyo, Ishiba said he will map out a long-term vision for socioeconomic development in the next 30 years.
Stressing the need to revitalize regional economies, Ishiba plans to insist on revising Abenomics, the economic policy mix of Abe.
On constitutional revisions, Abe is calling for adding a provision to clarify a rationale for the existence of the Self-Defense Forces while keeping intact the first clause of Article 9, which renounces war, and the second clause, which rejects Japan's possession of military power.
Meanwhile, Ishiba is expected to argue for the removal of the second clause of the article.
Ishiba is believed to have secured support from his intraparty group, which has 20 members, and most of the 21 House of Councillors members belonging to the faction led by LDP General Council Chairman Wataru Takeshita, sources familiar with the situation said.
The party election, which will be held in line with the expiration of Abe's term as LDP president, may be set for Sept. 20.
Abe plans to announce his candidacy late this month to seek a third straight term as LDP chief.
In the previous LDP leadership race in 2015, Abe won his second three-year term without contest. Jiji Press
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