Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kyodo news: Okada willing to form 'grand coalition' with LDP — Opposition tells Kan to step down in June

 The secretaries general of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito urged Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Sunday to step down by the end of this month.

                                                                                                              Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai
Naoto Kan

 While Kan plans to resign by August, Katsuya Okada, the secretary general of Kan's ruling Democratic Party of Japan, suggested in an NHK program that the prime minister leave the post earlier than currently planned.
 Okada also expressed a willingness to temporarily form a grand coalition government with the conservative LDP to tackle the task of rebuilding regions devastated by the March disaster before the next general election is held and decides the ruling party.
 "The Cabinet of Mr. Kan is a lame duck," the LDP's Nobuteru Ishihara said on the program. "I expect him to resign as early as possible, or from a commonsense standpoint, within this month."
 Yoshihisa Inoue of the New Komeito echoed that view.
 "It will damage national interest if the political vacuum continues any longer. It's necessary to choose a new prime minister as early as possible," Inoue said.
 Okada said he would intervene in the situation if necessary.
 "While it is the prime minister's discretion to decide when to step down, I'm ready to tell him to withdraw if his intention is far removed from the calls of many people," Okada said.
 Okada also stressed the need for the ruling and opposition parties to jointly address reconstruction in East Japan, as well as tax and social security issues.
 "I think it will be desirable to form a grand coalition government on a temporary basis and decide the ruling party in the next general election," he said.
 As for the hunt for Kan's successor, Okada declined to elaborate whether he would run.
 "It's too hasty to argue about it," he said.


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