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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Next LDP head must seek Asia thaw: Yamasaki

Staff writer

OSAKA -- Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's successor will fail if he attempts to imitate Koizumi's political style, and must work on Japan's relations with Asia, especially East Asia, Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight Taku Yamasaki said Monday.

In a speech to Kansai business leaders, Yamasaki stressed foreign relations rather than domestic issues. Yamasaki is a key Koizumi ally and a possible candidate in September's LDP presidential election, which will also determine who succeeds Koizumi as prime minister.

When asked whether he plans to run in the election, Yamasaki, 69, said, "As far as running in the election, there is the issue of my age."

Despite this, he did not rule out the possibility.

A former LDP secretary general and vice president, Yamasaki is considered a moderate on Japan's relations with East Asia. He said whoever replaces Koizumi will have to place priority on Japan's troubled relations with China and South Korea.

"Issues with China the new prime minister will have to deal with range from Yasukuni to China's military buildup, especially violations of Japanese territory by Chinese military aircraft. As to South Korean relations, the problem over Takeshima will have to be dealt with in an atmosphere of respect for international law," Yamasaki said.

He did not directly address the question of whether the next prime minister should visit Yasukuni Shrine, although in the past, he has indicated he opposes such visits. He said it is important that the new prime minister realize why China is so upset about the war shrine in particular.

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The Japan Times

Article 6 of 18 in National news

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