DPJ squabbles over Grand Coalition proposal

08/15/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) — Ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leaders jostling for position to take over leadership of the party continued Aug. 14 to push the idea of forming a Grand Coalition despite dissent from rank-and-file members and lukewarm response from opposition parties.

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, a front-runner in the race to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan whose resignation is expected within the month, Sunday repeated his call for the DPJ to join forces with the main opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

“Making decisions will be faster and it would be better for us to create a system where we join together and share responsibility,” Noda said.

Noda’s proposal received backing from DPJ powerbrokers, Katsuya Okada, the party secretary general, and Seiji Maehara, a former Foreign Affairs Minister.

Transport Minister Sumio Mabuchi, another candidate in the race to replace Kan, did not dismiss the idea of forming a Grand Coalition, but said the party needed to formulate “realistic policies.”

Many less prominent members of the DPJ are opposed to the national unity government proposal, the main reasons being given that doing so would mean the party would be required to sacrifice too many of its platform proposals and break election promises.

Opposition party members were even less enthusiastic. LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki said, “cooperation should be based on cooperation outside of the Cabinet.”

Another LDP member, who declined to be named, said the idea of the party joining with the DPJ would be “suicide,” and demanded the Diet be dissolved immediately and a general election held.
Komeito members, meanwhile, remained silent on the proposal.

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