Tokyo [Japan], June 21 (ANI/Xinhua): Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday pledged to focus on policies to deal with soaring energy and food prices while highlighting the importance of maintaining regional stability and constructive relations with Japan's neighbors.
At a policy debate ahead of the July 10 upper house elections comprising nine political party leaders, the Japanese leader vowed to tackle rising prices and protect households here.
Kishida said in the debate at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo that he would protect the lives of Japanese people as the nation faces a number of issues including rising energy and food prices.
But while the Japanese leader has said he plans to implement a number of policies to tackle rising inflation, with a budget of some 13 trillion yen (96 billion U.S. dollars), the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader was met with resistance from the opposition camp.
Kishida said in the debate that lowering the consumption tax from 10 percent to help mitigate the downside effects of the soaring prices on consumption, was not on the cards for the government, neither the Bank of Japan shifting its unwavering stance on maintaining its ultra-easy monetary policy.
But leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), Kenta Izumi, took aim at the government for not considering lowering the consumption tax rate to 5 percent to help households deal with rising prices.
Izumi also criticized the central bank for its continued dovish policy stance in the face of a weak yen and called for change.
Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the LDP's coalition Komeito ally, however, countered Izumi, saying that lowering the consumption tax would diminish tax revenue allocated to tackle mounting social security costs amid an ever-aging society.
Another opposition party leader said that too much focus was being given to monetary policy in terms of rising prices, and fiscal measures should be taken.
On the diplomatic front, Kishida said maintaining stable and constructive relations with China was of the utmost importance.
He said relations with China are important "not only for each other but also for the peace and stability of the region and the international community."Official campaigning ahead of the upper house elections will kick off on June 22.
Kishida, who took office last October, along with his ruling LDP and Komeito coalition ally will be looking to extend their grip on power in the upper house, so as to more swiftly pass key legislation and consolidate the government.
The ruling bloc currently controls both chambers of Japan's bicameral parliament.Around half of the upper chamber's 248 seats will be vied for in the upcoming election.
Under the proportional representation system, 50 seats will be chosen with the remaining seats based on results from electoral districts. (ANI/Xinhua)