TOKYO, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Democratic Party of Japan said withdrawing troops from Iraq is a linchpin in its platform for the upcoming Japanese election.
The main challenger to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party announced its platform Tuesday, which also includes a 10 trillion yen budget cut over the next three years, a consolidation of troubled pensions and funding for households with children, The Japan Times reports.
The election will be held Sept. 11.
The DPJ is trying to highlight the differences between the two parties.
The LDP's support of the Iraq war is one area the two differ. There are about 550 Japanese troops in Iraq.
DPJ President Katsuya Okaka said he will not visit a controversial memorial shrine that honors hundreds of thousands of fallen Japanese soldiers, including 14 war criminals.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has visited the shrine every year since coming to power in 2001, besides this year.
The announcement comes at a time when support for Koizumi's administration is increasing and media attention is focussed on a dispute over Koizumi's plan to privatize the postal system.