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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Watanabe again scotches Your Party coalition talk


Staff writer

Your Party chief Yoshimi Watanabe on Monday reiterated that his group won't form a coalition with the Democratic Party of Japan or the Liberal Democratic Party, but he did indicate his door is open to anyone to join him if they agree with his party's political agenda.

"Both the LDP and the DPJ are calling for bigger government, want to introduce tax hikes and are controlled by bureaucrats," Watanabe, whose party scored big gains in this month's Upper House election, said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

"But there are those who oppose such stances within the two parties. I call on those hidden comrades within the LDP and the DPJ to join us in a political realignment," Watanabe said.

With an extraordinary Diet session set to open Friday, the DPJ-led coalition is certain to face difficulties pushing legislation after losing its majority in the Upper House. Prime Minister Naoto Kan's primary task will be to find partners to ensure smooth passage of their bills, with Your Party emerging as a key player in the game.

On Monday, Watanabe explained that he will seek a "cross coalition" with suitable partners on a case-by-case basis.

Touching on Your Party's agenda to pursue reform of the bureaucracy and privatization of Japan Post Holdings Co., Watanabe said he will make pitches to both the opposition camp and the ruling bloc alike. Your Party will then determine who to join forces with to make the policies a reality.

"This is more of a cross coalition rather than a partial coalition," he said, stressing that his party's objective is not to choose sides but to have its bills passed smoothly.

On reforming the tax system and raising the consumption tax, Watanabe said his party could join the table of discussions if proceeds would be used as sources of revenue for regional governments.

"But such discussions should not take place on the assumption that the consumption tax is to be raised," he added.

Asked why Your Party did so well in the Upper House election, Watanabe cited Kan's flip-flops on the consumption tax and the public's strong urge to overcome the economic downturn.

He also repeated claims that Your Party isn't well funded, doesn't have any support organizations or organizational votes in its favor — but members have always remained optimistic that their agenda will earn the backing of the public.



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The Japan Times

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