The LDP has released its manifesto for the 31 October general election.

🧵My thoughts here.🧵

Initial thought. These blotches of color are a different look than the blocks of red/right angles that characterized LDP manifestos during the Abe years. (Left: 2021; Right: 2017)
I guess a more dovish PM gets the more artistic aesthetic or something.
Anyway, the manifesto naturally leads with pandemic, issue still in front of mind for voters. Not necessarily firm targets -- completing the vaccination campaign, rolling out boosters in line with science, minimizing serious cases and deaths -- plus continuing economic support.
Also the public health security measures included in his Diet speech last week: strengthening Kantei's public health crisis management capabilities, bolstering national drug and vaccine manufacturing capabilities, ability to secure beds, medical staff, control borders in crisis.
Second part is on building a new capitalism and social security for all generations.
Whoa: Takaichi's fingerprints are all over this. This circled bit here -- crisis management investment/growth investment -- is straight from the pages of her book.
As that page also shows, Abenomics remains the economic program of the LDP coming out of the pandemic.
Although it also mentions the proposal from Kishida's policy speech about combating "single fiscal year" budgeting to allow longer-range planning for science and technology, infrastructure, and economic security.
As the unusual war of words between the LDP and the finance ministry's top bureaucrat over the latter's Bungei Shunju essay about reckless spending suggests, this is not going to be a particularly MOF-friendly administration.…
Seriously, this page, the first in the economic policy section, was lifted almost entirely from Takaichi's book.
The next page is basically the industrial policy page, the laundry list of advanced technologies that the Kishida administration will support, including energy, telecommunications and IT, space, etc. Also modernizing the financial sector to make Japan a global financial hub.
Lest anyone doubt the LDP's willingness to spend:

"In order to stimulate private investment that will generate future growth, we will make the most of the current zero interest rate environment and actively utilize FILP.
The next pages are more in tune with Kishida's priorities, focusing on support for SMEs, emphasizing stakeholder capitalism rather than shareholder capitalism (alluding to further corporate governance reform in this vein), more working styles reform, etc.
Then a page on social security for all generations, including promised outlays to reduce daycare waiting lists, expand pediatric care, increase child allowances; more support for parents with young children, better access to in-home childcare.
Interestingly, I don't see any mention of the much-discussed children's agency, which still seems to be on the agenda for next year.…
Also continues Abe-era promise to improve quality and availability of nursing care so that workers don't need to leave the workforce to care for elderly parents.
It's worth noting that this is really a grab bag. This section, for example, mentions combating fake news "while giving maximum consideration to freedom of expression."
There's a page tacked on to the economic policy chapter on "supporting the success of women," but even more paltry than during the Abe years. Focused on undoing the harm done to women's prospects by the pandemic, combating domestic violence and sex crimes, women's health.
This manifesto does not give the impression that "womenomics" is a priority for the LDP at the present time, even compared to past manifestos.
The third section is another carryover from the Abe years: "to protect the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries that are the nation's root, make them growth industries."

The Abe government, of course, basically took an industrial policy/export-oriented approach to ag.
Includes export targets -- JPY 2tn by 2025, JPY 5tn by 2030 -- for high-value-added exports, with accompanying industrial policy measures to support this development.
Chapter four is on fostering growth outside of major metropolitan areas, which mainly focuses on green growth and digitalization as opportunities to reverse the movement of people from countryside to big cities.
I don't see much here that's different from 2014's "local Abenomics" or other efforts to reverse that long-term trend.
Chapter five is the arrival of economic security as its own pillar of the LDP's program. The phrase did not even appear in the 2017 and 2019 UH manifestos.
The first pledge here is comprehensive economic security legislation to safeguard strategic autonomy and prevent leakage of strategic technologies and commodities.
More signs of industrial policy backed by state resources. Pledges to use tax incentives and financial support to aid companies producing goods necessary for daily life, etc. and facilitate reshoring of production and R&D.
Will strengthen supply chain security for advanced technologies, rare earths, semiconductors, batteries, medical supplies, etc. Also calls for greater investment in information and cyber security.
Now we arrive at chapter six, the big one, foreign policy and national defense. Naturally, lots of photos of Kishida as foreign minister here. (Also lots of photos of John Kerry.)
First bullet: embracing the Free and Open Indo-Pacific in the interest of upholding universal values (liberty, democracy, rule of law, human rights) and stabilizing international order. In this vein, emphasizes partnerships with US, Quad, ASEAN, Europe, and Taiwan.
Taiwan is the big difference here. This language is the same here as earlier manifestos, but there was literally no mention of Taiwan in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos. Here, the LDP endorses Taiwan's TPP application, as well a WHO observer status.
Otherwise, calls on North Korea to return all abductees to Japan as soon as possible and pledges to work with the international community to achieve North Korea's complete abandonment of nuclear and missile programs.
Without using the word China, calls for "stressing that which should be stressed" and urging responsible behavior regarding human rights for Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.
"We will calmly and resolutely address that issues that relate to Japan's sovereignty and *honor* [emphasis added], as well as people's lives, safety, and property, such as the growing military power of neighboring countries, unilateral attempts to change the status quo...
"violations of international law, and *unprovoked criticism of historical awareness* [emphasis added]."
On this latter point, the 2017 manifesto was actually more explicit in that it said that improving relations with South Korea, China, and Russia required opposing "unprovoked criticism" on historical issues and upholding territorial claims.
Other diplomatic priorities include:
-emphasizing the development of strategic external communications
-promote overseas expansion of Japanese companies, enlargement of free and public economic zone, strengthening rules-based multilateral trading system
-Promoting Data Free Flow with Trust in cooperation with US and EU
-Leadership on nuclear nonproliferation, and SDGs
On defense policy, despite reports, this document does not include a pledge to double defense spending.
-Vague promise to "strengthen defense power"
-Bolster the Coast Guard and improve coordination between the Coast Guard and the SDF (this was in Kishida's leadership manifesto)
-Euphemistic language about measures to improve deterrence to deal with ballistic missiles in adversary's territory
弾道ミサイル等への対処能力を進化させるとともに、相手領域内で弾道ミサイル 等を阻止する能力の保有を含めて、抑止力を向上させるための新たな取組みを進 めます。
(Maybe they're taking seriously Kono's critique that talking about striking enemy bases is an outmoded way of thinking given technological advances.)
-Implementing legislation to prevent land sales near military bases and other sensitive facilities.
-Strengthening capabilities to evacuate Japanese nationals
-From 2022 onwards, new national security strategy, NDGP, mid-term defense program, with investment in "game changing" tech, improve conditions for SDF personnel. I suppose this could be a euphemistic reference to defense spending increases.
Ah ha. It's not in the pamphlet version, it's buried in the "policy bank" version.

"Aim to increase defense-related expenditures to the NATO standard 2% of GDP."
Here's the whole policy bank document, which lists more proposals in tiny print: ……
Actually, my above translation was a bit too hasty. Technically they could claim that they're not calling for raising defense spending to 2%, only "increasing defense spending, bearing in mind NATO countries' target of 2% of GDP."
It's a curious presentation, to say the least. How many voters will see this document, since the pamphlet version is more likely to be handed out by candidates?
Anyway, back to the pamphlet version. Chapter seven is on education.
The big proposal here is Kishida's early pledge of JPY 10tn for a university fund to support advanced research.
There's a lot on strengthening Japan's technology education.
-"AI education"
-more diverse paths in practical education
-More support for virtual education
-"Educational cloud with free access" for people from all backgrounds
Finally, chapter eight is on constitutional revision, supporting revision based on popular sovereignty, respect for fundamental human rights, and pacifism.
Calls for drafting a new constitution "responding to the demands of the times," but in the meantime stresses the four revisions that the LDP drafted during the Abe years.
-Recognizing the SDF
-emergency powers
-prohibiting multi-prefecture electoral districts
-education rights
The bottom line is that there is little in here that could not also have been in an Abe-era manifesto. Also, it's worth noting what the party chose to highlight in the pamphlet most voters will actually see versus the fine print in the policy bank.

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