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Saturday, June 16, 2007
Komeito lawmaker scoffs at snub
By MASAMI ITO
Blasting his party as "totalitarian," New Komeito senior Diet member Junichi Fukumoto announced Friday he will leave the junior partner of the ruling bloc and may run as an opposition candidate in the July Upper House election, since his party won't put him on the ticket.
Speaking at a news conference, the 58-year-old vice secretary general of New Komeito said he could no longer go along with his party's policymaking practices.
New Komeito, junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is solidly backed by Soka Gakkai, the nation's largest lay Buddhist organization. It is unusual for a Diet member to leave New Komeito and join up with another party.
"The party's system is totalitarian," Fukumoto said. He claimed that on occasion the party would announce policies before any decision had been made among its Diet members.
Although he refrained from naming any particular party, Fukumoto said he is considering offers he has received from other parties to run in the poll. New Komeito Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa slammed Fukumoto for his comments.
"It is appalling that (Fukumoto) said (New Komeito is) totalitarian just because he did not get his way," Kitagawa told reporters later Friday.
Fukumoto said he handed in his letter of resignation from the party Monday, but Kitagawa said it has not been accepted and the party is considering reprimanding him.