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Parties need concrete policies to promote diverse lifestyles

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Parties have made noble-sounding campaign promises to support diverse values and lifestyles in their efforts to garner votes in the July 21 Upper House election.

One party envisions a society where “everyone will have an important role to play.” Another talks about helping the “potential of individuals to burst forth.”

But it is doubtful whether these campaign promises are really underpinned by concrete and workable policy proposals.

One symbolic scene unfolded during a debate among the heads of seven parties held at the Japan National Press Club the day before the official campaign period for the Upper House poll started.

When asked by a reporter whether they supported the proposal to allow married couples to use separate family names if they desire, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was the only party leader to refuse to raise his hand to show his position on the issue.

He vehemently defended his action by contending that “politics is not about yes or no.” He criticized the reporter, saying, “Stop trying to manipulate the public's image of........

© The Asahi Shimbun