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30 LDP local chapters support 'postal rebels' returning to party.

TOKYO, Nov. 4 Kyodo

A total of 30 among 47 Liberal Democratic Party local chapters are basically in favor of readmitting to the ruling party the so-called ''postal rebels'' who were expelled last year for opposing postal privatization, a Kyodo News survey showed Saturday.

Many cited the shared political beliefs as the reason to allow them to rejoin, according to the survey conducted among secretaries general of the LDP's prefectural chapters.

Meanwhile, secretaries general of four chapters expressed opposition to the idea, while 13 declined to provide whether they are for or against the idea.

Among the chapters of nine prefectures where 13 rebels who were not allowed to run as LDP candidates retained their seats as independents in the 2005 House of Representatives election, seven were in favor of readmitting such rebels to the LDP.

The seven include the chapters of Yamanashi, Gifu, Okayama and Saga prefectures, where such rebels as Mitsuo Horiuchi, former international trade and industry minister, Seiko Noda, former posts and telecommunications minister, Takeo Hiranuma, former economy, trade and industry minister, Kosuke Hori, former education minister, won seats as independents.

Meanwhile, among chapters where 14 rebels failed to retain their seats, the Oita chapter was in favor of the idea, while the Shizuoka chapter declined to answer the question.

As reasons for supporting the rebels' rejoining, there were such answers as ''because they had originally been in the same party'' or ''because they have many ideas in common, apart from postal privatization.''

The chapter of Yamanashi said it is in favor of the idea ''to win in the House of Councillors election'' next summer, while the chapter of Okinawa questioned the handling of the issue by Koizumi Junichiro, then prime minister and LDP head, saying that ''the punishment by the executives under the Koizumi leadership went a little too far.''

Asked how the rebels' rejoining will affect the upper house election, many chapters were not worried, with some saying that ''there will be no problem because they will cooperate in implementing reform under the administration of (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe.''

Chapters clearly against the rebels rejoining were those in Miyagi and Kanagawa prefectures.

The Miyagi chapter said, ''Voters who have voted for the LDP in the general house election will object if rejoining is allowed,'' while the Kanagawa chapter said the opponents ''should find a way to set up their own party if they dared to oppose bills which the party made a binding decision to support.''

The two chapters also expected negative effects in the upper house election, with one saying that rejoining would be a betrayal to voters.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Nov 6, 2006
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