Japan’s business leaders called for public discussion of austerity and other unpopular policies, including social security reform, during lower house election campaigning that kicked off Tuesday.
Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said at a press conference that he hopes candidates will intensively debate social security reform as the issue was “untouched” during a televised debate of ruling and opposition party leaders Monday.
Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called on the parties to clarify their policies on fiscal consolidation.
“We hope (the parties) will discuss openly reforms that would be painful but serve the national interest,” he said in a statement.
Retailers, which have been hit hard by a drop in consumption, say the election could be a double whammy if it causes a further slowdown in economic activity.
Campaigning during the year-end shopping season is a headache for department stores, an executive at a major department store operator said.
When the last general election was held in December 2012, spending for year-end gift-giving shrank, denting sales at department stores.