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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ishiba laments LDP's divisions

Staff writer

The Liberal Democratic Party should focus on creating clear policies and restructuring and end its internal bickering, LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Shigeru Ishiba said Wednesday.

"This is not the time to be having discussions on changing the LDP president or being caught up in internal strife," Ishiba told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

His comments were apparently in response to recent remarks by LDP lawmaker Yoichi Masuzoe, who suggested party President Sadakazu Tanigaki should step down and threatened to force a political realignment by creating his own party.

Ishiba said the LDP's priority is to prevent the ruling Democratic Party of Japan from winning a majority in the July Upper House election.

Referring to recent local-level elections that saw LDP-backed candidates beat DPJ rivals, Ishiba warned that the victories were the result of voter disenchantment with the DPJ, the "exact opposite of last year's Lower House election," where Ishiba said voters flocked to the DPJ not because of its policies, but because they were sick of the LDP.

Ishiba, a military expert and former defense minister under former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, also laughed off Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's pledge of reaching a final decision on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa by the end of May, calling such promises unrealistic.

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The Japan Times

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