11 August 2009

The next Japanese Prime Minister's plans a rational retreat from neoliberalism

“Under the principle of fraternity, we will not implement policies that leave economic activities in areas relating to human lives and safety, such as agriculture, the environment and medicine, at the mercy of the tides of globalism,” Mr Hatoyama wrote.

Analysts say that wide policy differences within the often fractious DPJ make it difficult to predict how such statements of principle might be put into practice. Mr Hatoyama highlighted the need for better welfare, more child support and wealth redistribution.

He made clear that while security ties with the US would remain a “diplomatic cornerstone”, Japan must do much more to tighten links with Asian neighbours such as China and South Korea.

“As a result of the failure of the Iraq war and the financial crisis, the era of the US-led globalism is coming to an end and …we are moving away from a unipolar world led by the US towards an era of multipolarity,” the DPJ leader said, adding that fears about China's military rise were a big factor in “accelerating regional integration”.

Japan should "aspire to the move towards regional currency integration" and "spare no effort" in building the security frameworks needed to make union possible, he wrote, adding that the example of European Union showed that integration itself could be the best way of defusing territorial disputes often seen as an impediment to closer ties.

Mr Hatoyama also emphasised the DPJ's campaign pledge to push devolution of power to local governments within Japan as embodying his fraternal values, again approvingly citing European examples.Dismissing the “Ministry of Finance-led theory” of trying to rebuild Japan's state finances through welfare cuts and tax rises, he said he would aim to reform bureaucracy, regain trust in the pension system and give regions fiscal autonomy.

“Resolving our fiscal problems is impossible without comprehensively rebuilding Japan's political systems,” Mr Hatoyama wrote.



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