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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yosano faults Tanigaki rule, eyes LDP exit

Heavyweight tries new-party ploy


Staff writer

Ex-Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano indicated Monday he may leave the Liberal Democratic Party and form a new party, saying LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki "is not qualified" to lead since he has failed to attack the current administration's shortcomings and thus hasn't attracted voters.

The threat by Yosano, 71, an LDP heavyweight known for his thorough knowledge of policy affairs, will further weaken the leadership of the main opposition force and could lead to political realignment.

"Support rates for the (ruling) Democratic Party of Japan have fallen, but the support for the LDP has not grown much," Yosano said Monday in an interview with The Japan Times.

"(Tanigaki) is no good because he is not ready to fight by saying the right things. The party head himself should appeal to voters," Yosano said, adding, "(Tanigaki) is not qualified . . . " to be LDP president.

An opinion piece by Yosano will appear in the latest issue of the monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, which hits shelves Wednesday.

According to a copy obtained by The Japan Times, Yosano has already discussed with former internal affairs minister Kunio Hatoyama and LDP Deputy Secretary General Hiroyuki Sonoda an option to form a new party.

"Under President Tanigaki, it is not certain if the LDP can rebuild itself," Yosano wrote. "Time is running out and I will probably make a decision in the not-too-distant future."

In the article, Yosano harshly criticized the economic and fiscal policies of the DPJ-led government, saying it has no long-term vision to either reduce the growing government debt or achieve economic growth.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the DPJ president, and his party have been mired in political funds scandals but Tanigaki has not gone on the attack, and thus failed to win over voters, Yosano argued.

Any new party must address two key goals, Yosano wrote. It must take measures to strengthen Japan's international competitiveness and rebuild the debt-ridden government coffers so the people can lead stable lives.

Specifically, the party would advocate raising the 5 percent consumption tax to at least 10 percent.

Sales tax revenues should be strictly separated from the general account and be used only for social security measures, Yosano argues in the article.



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