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Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

Kan won't rule out LDP option

Staff writer

Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Monday left open the possibility of a grand coalition with the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, although he added that the idea won't easily be accepted without good reason.

"I'm not saying a grand coalition is absolutely out of the question," Kan said in a news conference. "But without a good cause, such as revising the Constitution, I don't think it would gain public understanding."

A more realistic approach for Kan would be to get the Social Democratic Party to support government-sponsored bills, including the fiscal 2011 budget, so that the Democratic Party of Japan, Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) and the SDP can override the Upper House with a two-thirds majority.

"I would like to deepen ties in a strategic manner with the SDP and coalition partner Kokumin Shinto," Kan said.

Kan refrained from discussing the possibility of the SDP returning to the coalition, saying he hadn't yet discussed the matter with the party.

The SDP left the coalition after a Japan-U.S. agreement was sealed in May to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps air base at Futenma to Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. The party wants the base moved outside the prefecture.

Asked if he planned to reshuffle the Cabinet by the next Diet session, Kan ducked the question and said he would "prepare his administration."

"I'm not talking about a Cabinet reshuffle but I will organize a system where I can firmly" operate the administration, Kan said.

Speculation is rife that Kan will reshuffle the Cabinet to replace Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku and transport minister Sumio Mabuchi.

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito claim they will boycott Diet deliberations attended by the two ministers, who were hit by nonbinding censure motions in the Upper House last month.

"Sengoku is doing as good a job as I expected or more than I expected," Kan said, dismissing criticism that he should resign.

Kan also said the government will uphold its ideal of banning arms exports.

Japan cannot develop defense technology with other countries because it is considered weaponry.

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The Japan Times

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