Two bills for the revitalization of local economies, now a key campaign platform for the ruling bloc as its members gear up to rally for seats in the lower house, which was dissolved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier Friday, from Dec. 2 ahead of a general election on Dec. 14., were approved at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors on Friday.
Both"The Bill for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan" and the "Bill to Amend the Local Revitalization Act,"were passed into law Friday, following their passing a special committee of the Upper House on Wednesday, supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition New Komeito ally, as well as the Party for Future Generations.
The committee meeting earlier in the week, convened in order to see the bills smoothly enacted into law on Friday in the upper house, was boycotted by four opposition parties, including the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, to protest Abe's decision to dissolve the lower house of parliament Friday and call a snap election.
But Abe said regarding the passage of the two bills into law, that his cabinet is "determined to go all out in tackling the issues of regional revitalization and declining population,"and that there is"no time to lose in dealing with such issues as population declines and the super-graying of society in rural areas."
As the ruling bloc aims to retain its majority in parliament's lower chamber, as decided by the upcoming general election, its members will take to the streets in their constituencies to trumpet a number of the new laws'purposes including the need to" halt the decline in population, remedy the over-concentration of population in the Greater Tokyo area and support a vibrant Japanese society well into the future," according to the LDP's own statement on the issue.
The LDP also said that the new law contains"seven basic principles for regional development: to ensure the provision of the basic services required for life and work; to enhance the environment for young people to have the desire to marry, give birth, and raise kids; to create attractive employment opportunities that leverage the unique characteristics of local communities and to cooperate with local government entities to ensure the effective administration of policy."