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Ikeda's prudence brings LDP General Council head post.

TOKYO, Sept. 30 Kyodo

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) top policy-planner Yukihiko Ikeda was tapped Thursday night to serve as chairman of the party's General Council because he did not throw his full support behind his faction boss Koichi Kato's decision to challenge Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in the LDP presidential race.

From the policy perspective, Ikeda, 62, also won marks for his contribution to the Obuchi administration's goal of reviving the economy under the alliance of the LDP, the Liberal Party and the New Komeito.

The appointment of Ikeda to a top party executive post could cause some consternation in the Kato faction, according to political analysts.

Ikeda, a former finance ministry bureaucrat and son-in-law of the late Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda, has been elected to the House of Representatives eight times.

Ikeda, known for fluency in policy issues, has served as defense agency director general and foreign minister among other posts.

He is treated warily by bureaucrats and politicians with close relations with industries due to his reputation for favoring fiscal austerity.

In the extraordinary Diet session last year, Ikeda stood up to younger lawmakers over legislation for cleaning up the mess in the banking sector. He is sometimes called "Mr. No."

But Ikeda, sometimes criticized for not listening to others, is likely to inject some vigor into the party's General Council, considered full of fastidious personalities.

Ikeda hails from Hiroshima Prefecture.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Oct 4, 1999
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