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Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

New Diet group links Tarutoko to Hashimoto


Staff writer

OSAKA — Yorihisa Matsuno, head of the Diet delegation for Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), will join a coalition of about 10 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition camps to study fundamental new measures to revitalize the economy, including creation of an "inward investment agency."

From the Democratic Party of Japan, Shinji Tarutoko, minister of internal affairs and matters pertaining to Okinawa and the Russia-held islands off Hokkaido, is expected to take part, as is Jin Matsubara, a DPJ Lower House member.

Liberal Democratic Party Lower House members Ichiro Aisawa and Takeshi Iwaya are also expected to join.

The group will offer proposals for revitalizing a number of industrial sectors by the end of the year, including marine products and renewable energy.

To boost foreign investment, they will call for establishment of a new inward investment agency, whose responsibilities would including coordinating foreign investments in Japan.

Tarutoko's participation has sparked speculation in Osaka that the minister, who represents the prefecture's No. 12 district, might be looking to defect to the Osaka-based Nippon Ishin no Kai.

Following Tarutoko's appointment as state minister on Oct. 1, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who heads Nippon Ishin no Kai, praised him as being serious about achieving decentralization and local autonomy. The same day, Tarutoko said he hoped a referendum on merging Osaka Prefecture and the city of Osaka would be held as soon as possible.

But relations between Tarutoko and Hashimoto are reportedly bad, and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry must be consulted on the details of any such merger.

Tarutoko's appointment was seen by some local media as an attempt by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to frustrate Hashimoto and Nippon Ishin no Kai, for which the Osaka merger is a key platform goal.



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