August 30, 2011
The Democratic Party of Japan on August 29 elected Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko as successor to the present head of the party Kan Naoto after a runoff vote with Industry Minister Kaieda Ban’ri, paving the way for Noda to be Japan’s next prime minister. Noda has been calling for a review of the DPJ manifesto in consultation with the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.
After the DPJ presidential election, Noda told reporters that he “will first build a trusting relationship” with the LDP and the Komei, and that he “will tenaciously make efforts to work with them and then eye the possibility” of forming a grand coalition.
Later in the day, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said at a press conference that the election result shows that the DPJ has chosen the path toward a grand coalition and a tax hike, and expressed his determination anew that the JCP will confront the new government headed by Noda.
Shii criticized the DPJ for throwing away its manifesto for the general election two years ago in which the party had promised to move away from the LDP politics and not increase the consumption tax rate for four years.
The new DPJ leader or the prime minister-to-be is seeking cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties, “But,” Shii said, “the cooperation they call for is in regard to a consumption tax hike and further tax breaks for large corporations.”
He pointed out that the DPJ remains in step with the LDP on issues such as U.S. military bases, Japan’s participation in a free-trade pact, and the country’s energy policy.
“If the DPJ wants to take such a course, it should ask the people in advance. Without seeking a public verdict in an election, the DPJ should not form a grand coalition and increase the consumption tax,” Shii said.