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4 senior lawmakers willing to promote realignment.

TOKYO, Dec. 14 Kyodo

Four senior lawmakers from ruling and opposition parties indicated their willingness Sunday to maintain close ties in promoting a political realignment following the next general election.

The four -- former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Koichi Kato, former LDP vice president Taku Yamasaki, acting president of the Democratic Party of Japan Naoto Kan and acting leader of the People's New Party Shizuka Kamei -- made comments to this effect when they appeared on a TV Asahi program.

On the declining approval rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso, Kato said, ''The historical mission of the LDP has been completed.'' He also said the four agree that they should review excessive deregulation and address regional issues.

Yamasaki said a political realignment ''will definitely come'' regardless of the outcome of the House of Representatives election, which must be held by next September. ''The four of us could play pivotal roles in an alignment,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the DPJ's Kan said the four have been in touch with each other to exchange views on the political situation. He also said he expects some LDP members to leave the party ''as a trigger in forming a two-party system.''

Kamei stressed the need to form a new party ahead of the general election if they intend to bring new blood into political circles.

Apparently encouraging the LDP's Kato and Yamasaki, Kamei said, ''The question is only whether they (lawmakers) have the guts to do so. It is not a difficult issue in theory.''

Kato, on his part, said he is not currently thinking about leaving the LDP ahead of the general election.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Dec 15, 2008
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