Japan's Socialists Discard Socialism

JAPAN'S Social Democratic Party yesterday adopted a draft platform that abandons socialism, and recognizes the South Korean government and a key security treaty with the United States.

"We are trying to create a Japanese version of Western democratic socialism," said party Secretary-General Hirotaka Akamatsu.

The draft platform was submitted to the executive committee for approval later in the year. The document is expected to spark criticism from party hard-liners. Political analysts say the Socialists need to discard four key policies to become electable, including their view of Japan's military as violating the postwar Constitution, their vow to scrap all nuclear power plants, and their rejection of the US-Japan Security Treaty and the 1965 normalization treaty with South Korea.

The draft declaration says the party will recognize the two treaties. It will no longer regard the military as unconstitutional but will call for a reduction of its strength. Nuclear power plants will also be allowed until safer sources of energy are found, it said.

The Socialists have been the main opposition party in parliament but have never seriously threatened the rule of the Liberal Democrats.

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