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40% of LDP candidates back U.S. military action against N. Korea

Nearly 40 percent of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party
candidates planning to run in the Oct. 22 general election support
U.S. military action against North Korea if nuclear and missile
issues cannot be resolved peacefully, a Kyodo News survey showed
Sunday.

The survey also showed that 72.5 percent of candidates expected
to run on the ticket of the newly formed Party of Hope led by Tokyo
Gov. Yuriko Koike are against amending Japan's pacifist Constitution
while Shinzo Abe is prime minister.

The survey covered 1,028 candidates confirmed by last Thursday
to stand in the election, of whom 948 responded by Sunday. The
respondents included 268 from the LDP, 28 from Komeito, the LDP's
junior coalition ally, and 160 from the Party of Hope, which has
suddenly emerged as the apparent main rival to the LDP.

With the launch of the Party of Hope last month leading to the
effective collapse of the main opposition Democratic Party, the
election is expected to be a three-way battle between the ruling
coalition parties, the Party of Hope, and other opposition groups
including a new party formed by liberal members of the Democratic
Party.

Survey respondents also included 243 candidates from the
Japanese Communist Party, 54 from the new liberal-minded
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and 40 from the Japan
Innovation Party led by Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui.

Asked about U.S. military action against Pyongyang if the United
States and Japan fail to resolve the nuclear and missile standoff by
applying pressure on the North, 39.6 percent of the LDP candidates
said they support the use of military force and 20.5 percent were
opposed.

Among the Japan Innovation Party candidates, 77.5 percent said
they back U.S. military action. But in the case of the Party of Hope,
which aims to become "a reform-minded conservative party," 57.5
percent were against the use of military force while 21.3 percent
responded otherwise.

Nearly all Japanese Communist Party candidates and 85.2 percent
of the Constitutional Democratic Party candidates were against the
U.S. resorting to military steps.

Regarding amending the Constitution, 66.9 percent of the Party
of Hope candidates were against Abe's proposal to see a revised
supreme law put into force in 2020, when Japan will host the Olympics
and Paralympics in Tokyo.

More than half, or 53.1 percent, of the candidates of Koike's
party also said they disapprove of Abe's plan to revise the
war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution by adding an explicit
reference to the Self-Defense Forces.

Still, 90.6 percent of the Party of Hope candidates said they
are basically in favor of amending the Constitution.

More than 90 percent of candidates to run on the Komeito party
ticket also expressed support for constitutional revision. But they
were split on whether to do so under the Abe government, with 14.3
percent supporting doing so and 14.3 percent opposed.

On the government plan to raise the consumption tax from 8 to 10
percent in October 2019, most ruling party candidates expressed
support.

But over 60 percent of the candidates with the Party of Hope and
the Constitutional Democratic Party, as well as 92.5 percent of the
Japan Innovation Party candidates, called for postponing the increase.

Japan is scheduled to hold its first general election since
2014, with 465 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs.
The ruling parties held a two-thirds majority in the lower house when
Abe dissolved the house in late September. (Oct. 9)