Candidates in LDP Race Discuss Social Security, Nuclear Power


Tokyo, Sept. 18 (Jiji Press)--Candidates in the leadership election of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party focused on social security, nuclear power and party reform in a debate session held in Tokyo on Saturday.

Taro Kono, 58-year-old administrative reform minister, called for creating a guaranteed minimum portion of public pension that is completely funded by tax revenues instead of premiums.

"The minimum guaranteed pension is unviable without taxation" because low-income people are finding difficulties in paying premiums, Kono said.

Fumio Kishida, 64-year-old former chairman of the LDP's Policy Research Council, doubted the feasibility of Kono's proposal, pointing out that a consumption tax increase would be inevitable. Kishida said he has no plans to raise the consumption tax in the coming decade.

Former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, 60, was also critical of Kono's plan, saying that covering the minimum guaranteed pension entirely by tax is "impossible in terms of system."

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Jiji Press