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Interviews with new Party officers - General Council Chairperson Toshihiro Nikai

September 24, 2014

Tomomi Inada

Q: Tell us about your ambitions on being appointed General Council Chairperson.


General Council Chairperson Toshihiro Nikai: I served as General Council Chairperson in the first Abe Cabinet and also in the Fukuda Cabinet. I am honored to have been chosen once again for this post.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a grueling schedule that keeps him traveling around the world to speak one-on-one with global leaders. I have enormous respect for the bold and forthright way that he approaches foreign policy, and I want to renew my commitment to support Prime Minister Abe and assist him in the achievement of his policy objectives.


Q: How do you plan to run the General Council?


Nikai: As you know, the General Council is the Party's highest decision-making body and functions in place of the Party Convention. It must be run on the basis of careful, thorough discussion and debate.

This is where the Party makes its final decisions, and I therefore want its members to be able to engage in free and active debate. My commitment is to create a General Council that respects the opinions of all standing members and determines the Party's stance after a thorough discussion of all the issues on the table.


Q: What is your role as a member of the Party leadership?


Nikai: I chair the Comprehensive Research Commission on the Establishment of the Disaster Resilient Japan, and even when we were out of power, I was advocating for a more disaster-resistant Japan.

People have been critical of that, arguing that we don't have the funding and therefore can't improve our disaster preparedness, but disaster strikes not only when it's forgotten but also when it is still remembered. I believe now is the time to deepen the discussion of disaster preparedness.

We distribute flower seeds to people who agree with this idea. We've already reached 80,000 bags. It is this kind of sincerity and warmth that the Party must foster, so I want to continue to focus on this theme of preparedness.

Another important focus for me will be strengthening our relationship with the New Komeito.

We have a long history of cooperation with them. True, there are differences in our policies and ways of thinking, but rather than drawing distinctions, I would like to find a common ground for unity. It will be important to identify common issues and collaborate with them so that the LDP is able to run the government the way it should be.

I want to encourage communication with the New Komeito and strengthen the coalition government.

Japan has a veritable mountain of policy issues that it must address. I am looking forward to collaborating with the newly appointed Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki and Policy Research Council Chairperson Tomomi Inada to meet the expectations from both the insideand the outside of the Party.

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