Japan ruling party manifesto promises calm diplomacy

TOKYO Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:03am EST

TOKYO Nov 27 (Reuters) - Japan's ruling party vowed on Tuesday to defend the nation's interests with "cool-headed and practical" diplomacy in a manifesto ahead of a Dec. 16 election that sought to underscore a contrast with the hawkish rhetoric of its main opposition rivals.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) also reiterated its goal of phasing out nuclear power by the 2030s - another policy where it differs with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which advocates further debate before deciding on Japan's energy mix.

While reaffirming a commitment to end deflation and achieve growth targets similar to those adopted by the LDP, the Democrats stopped short of prescribing a new inflation goal for the Bank of Japan or suggesting changes to the central bank law.

The LDP, led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, tops opinion polls with 22-25 percent of voters saying they will cast their ballots for the once-dominant party. That is about 10-15 points ahead of the Democrats, who have struggled to close the gap since Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called the election for parliament's lower house earlier this month.

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