DPJ aims to play up negative side of "Abenomics" in election

The Democratic Party of Japan unveiled Monday a final draft of its campaign platform for this summer's upper house election, with the largest opposition party criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policies.

In its platform, the DPJ, which lost power in last December's general election, also attacked the premier and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party for rushing to revise the nation's pacifist Constitution.

The DPJ said the so-called "Abenomics" policies, aimed at beating chronic deflation with large budgetary spending, bolder monetary easing and other stimulus measures, have "strong side effects" on the economy and warned of "various concerns such as excessive weakening of the yen and vicious inflation."

"Abenomics is turning into something that could devastate people's lives," DPJ leader Banri Kaieda said at a press conference. The party "will protect the lives while upgrading pension systems and medical services through comprehensive social security reforms."

The party said there is a need for improving public finances with revision to government spending, pledging legislation for the fiscal discipline goals of halving the country's primary budget deficit in the year ending in March 2016 and achieving a surplus five years later.

A primary surplus means the government can forgo new bond issuance to finance its expenditures, excluding debt-servicing costs.

The DPJ is promised to boost the economy with a growth strategy focusing on promoting energy-efficient technologies, increasing exports of agricultural and fishery products, and assisting small and midsize companies.

It also stipulated opposition to a move to revise the Constitution. While Abe is aiming to first amend Article 96 and ease rules for initiating constitutional change, the DPJ said it will oppose such a move.

"We oppose relaxing conditions for revision without discussing what to be revised," the draft platform said.

Among other pledges, the DPJ said the country would leave negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement unless securing national interests and would seek to suspend operations at all nuclear power plants in the 2030s.

The party is scheduled to finalize its campaign platform later this month following further consultations. Voting in the House of Councillors' election will likely be held July 21.