TOKYO Japan's opposition Democratic Party this week unveiled its campaign platform ahead of an August30 election, including steps aimed at putting money in the hands of households to boost spending and stimulate growth.
Surveys show that the Democrats could win next month's general election, ending more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by Prime Minister Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party and raising the chances of breaking a deadlock in parliament.
Below is an outline of major economic policies in the campaign platform.
INCREASE HOUSEHOLD DISPOSABLE INCOME
-- Pay out 26,000 yen ($274) per month to families per child in full from April 2011.
-- Make public high schools free of charge.
-- Introduce income support for farmers in full from April 2011.
-- Abolish a decades-old surcharge of about 25 yen per liter on gasoline and other car-related taxes to achieve 2.5 trillion yen ($26 billion) in tax cuts.
-- Gradually scrap highway tolls.
IMPLEMENT POLICIES AS FUNDS FOUND
-- Cut wasteful spending by such means as halting public works projects and reducing government personnel costs.
-- Gradually implement policies at the cost of 7.1 trillion yen in the first year starting from next April, rising to 16.8 trillion yen in the fourth year.
EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMY
-- Bring down the corporate tax rate for small- and mid-sized firms to 11 percent from the current 18 percent.
-- Establish a nationwide minimum wage of 800 yen and aim at increasing that to 1,000 yen per hour.
-- Ban in general the dispatch of temp workers to manufacturers and expand permanent employment.
-- Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by more than 60 percent by 2050.
-- Create a domestic emissions trading market, with compulsory volume caps on emitters and consider introducing a climate tax.
-- Introduce a "feed-in" tariff for any type of renewable energy supply, under which power companies pay an above-market rate for every unit of such types of power, and boost renewable energy sources to about 10 percent of primary energy supply by 2020.
PENSIONS, MEDICAL CARE
-- Focus on recovering missing pension records for the first two years starting next April.
-- Standardize the pension system with a minimum pension allowance of 70,000 yen per month.
-- Reject a pledge to cut annual increases in welfare spending by 220 billion yen, which the government also abandoned last month.
(Reporting by Yoko Kubota and Risa Maeda)