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People's New Party [PNP] / Kokumin Shinto

The People's New Party was founded as an outcome of disputes over former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's postal privatization proposal. Five parliamentary members from the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan who opposed the postal service privatization joined to form this new party in August 2005.

Shizuka Kamei is founder and "public face" of Kokumin Shinto (The People's New Party). With only four MPs in the last House of Representatives and four in the current Upper House, PNP has become more influential than its numbers suggest and could be part of a new government after August 30. PNP, together with the Social Democratic Party, have banded with the Democratic Party of Japan to give it control of the Upper House. The smaller parties have undertaken to join a DPJ-led coalition in the Lower House after the election. However, there have been strains since opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama suggested on radio last month a coalition was only necessary until Minshuto won a majority of its own at the next Upper House election.

Kamei, a former head of the Liberal Democratic Party's policy research council was long a senior figure in the governing party but as a Post Office privatization rebel in 2005 he was forced out of the party by Junichiro Koizumi. He formed PNP in August 2005, before Koizumi's snap general election. Despite being targeted by the pro-Koizumi renegade entrepreneur, Takifumi Horie, Kamei won his Hiroshima constituency for a 10th term. PNP is running this time on a platform of revising the LDP's postal privatization plans, big government spending to stimulate the economy, tax cuts and a four-year freeze on a consumption tax increase.

In the 2009 election campaign the People's New Party insisted on the need to break away from the "structural reform" policy that was initiated by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's government. It called for fiscal reconstruction using 200 trillion yen and increasing tax revenues. The main item on its agenda was a review of the postal privatization. It said that the present political turmoil cannot be ended without the review of the privatized postal services. It called for the postal services to be made accessible to every Japanese citizen. The People's New Party said the consumption tax should be used for maintaining the social services. It also called for the conclusion of a "new Japan-U.S. alliance."

On 14 August 2009, the policy chiefs of the DPJ, the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party held a press conference to announce the three parties' joint polices for the general election. The joint policies that had been agreed upon in each of the following areas: (1) maintaining the current rate of consumption tax, (2) undertaking a fundamental review of postal privatisation, (3) supporting child-rearing and engaging in both work and family life, (4) enhancing the social security system, including pensions, medical care and nursing care, (5) strengthening employment measures, including radical revision of the legislation covering temporary workers, (6) revitalisation of the regions. These policies were not a manifesto in the event that a coalition government should be formed, but a document stating that these are policies the three parties share and would like to carry out.




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