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Abe's coalition partner seeks 10% pay rise for workers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The New Komeito party on Tuesday set long-term goals to revitalize the Japanese economy, including raising average salaries by 10 percent, in its key policy pledges for this summer's upper house election.

The junior coalition partner of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party also proposed holding an anti-nuclear summit in 2015 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the elimination of nuclear weapons, while underscoring the need for improving Japan's relations with China and South Korea, strained over historical issues.

To achieve the salary hike, New Komeito said it aims to set up a meeting of representatives of the government, corporate managers and employees, at which rules for companies to reflect their earnings on salaries would be discussed.

Raising household incomes is a priority issue for Abe's administration. New Komeito said average salaries in Japan declined about 10 percent in the decade through 2011 amid deflation, and it pledged to regain the loss, although it did not set any deadline to achieve the goal.

"It is important to clearly show the color of our party," Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi told a press conference, adding that the governing coalition will aim to retain its majority in the House of Councillors in the election expected next month.

The announcement was the first in a series of two, with the second set of policies expected to be unveiled later this month.

The party made no mention of any contentious issues such as whether it would support the possible restart of idle atomic power plants as well as whether it agreed with the proposed revision to the nation's pacifist Constitution.

A draft of the LDP campaign pledges has shown the party supports the rebooting of nuclear reactors confirmed safe, despite public concerns in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima crisis. Abe is also eager to change the Constitution, a move that enhances the view widespread among other countries that he is shifting Japanese politics to the right.

On the deteriorating ties with China and South Korea -- over Japan's wartime aggression in the region -- New Komeito will fight the election by pledging to regularly hold leaders' talks between the three neighboring countries.

Among other pledges, it aims to make Japanese infrastructure more disaster-proof, double the nation's agricultural exports and support parenting workers, in line with Abe's key policies to stimulate the country's growth.

==Kyodo

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/130605/abes-coalition-partner-seeks-10-pay-rise-workers