Japan: Party leaders prepare for opposition vote next week

Japan's opposition party leaders Yukio Edano, head of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), and Kenta Izumi, policy chief of the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) held a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Wednesday. Both Edano and Izumi were critical of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as they prepared to go head-to-head in the leadership race for the opposition party. «I think that Prime Minister Abe's judgement may have diminished,» said Izumi on the subject of Abe's coronavirus policies, including masks measures, and funding. «Under the long-term government, politics loses tension and humility, and cannot accept the lives of the people,» he added, inferring things would be different if he were to be named as leader of the opposition party which is due to be named next week. Regarding the US — Japan Status of the Forces Agreement, Edano continued, «We propose to the United States that we need to revise the Status of Agreement, and need to negotiate. The revision is possible if we negotiate firmly and tenaciously.» The forces agreement concerns the status of American soldiers based on Japanese land. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, known as the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history, announced his decision to step down on August 28 due to his struggle with chronic inflammatory bowel disease since 2007. His ruling LDP is due to hold an election on September 14 for the party leadership, with a parliamentary vote for prime minister possibly two days later.

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