Senior vice Cabinet Office minister to defect from Abe's ruling LDP, join new party

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-25 15:45:46|Editor: ying
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TOKYO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- A senior vice Cabinet Office minister in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government announced Monday he would be leaving the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to join a new party being formed by allies close to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

Mineyuki Fukuda, 53, a third term lower house lawmaker, told a press briefing on the matter that he wants to form a new party with independent lower house member Masaru Wakasa.

"I will make a new political party with House of Representatives lawmaker Masaru Wakasa," Fukuda said, referring to the independent lawmaker who has joined forces with former Democratic Party members including Goshi Hosono and other defectors.

"I want to join the new party and work on raising up its human resources," Fukuda said, confirming his plan to run as a candidate for the envisioned new party in the expected up coming general election.

The latest development will deal a blow to Abe, who doubles as the LDP's president, who is expected to announce on Monday his contentious plan to dissolve the all-important lower house of parliament for a snap general election in October.

Fukuda was first elected to the lower house in 2005. While being defeated in the 2014 general election in his Kanagawa Prefecture constituency, however, he managed to retain his seat on the LDP's proportional representation list.

The new party, envisioned by Wakasa and Hosono, has seen a number of defectors jump ship from their parties to join the embryonic party that will field 50 or more candidates in all of Tokyo's 25 constituencies.

Along with those jumping ship from the LDP, the exodus from the main opposition Democratic Party of late will also be frustrating for the party and its new leader Seiji Maehara, who has stated that unity within the party ranks was vitally important for it to mount a serious challenge to the ruling coalition in the expected election.

The latest defections on both sides come at a time that both parties have been discussing their campaign pledges and mapping out their overall paradigmatic content of their platforms.

The opposition camp has also been looking into ways it can cooperate in the election to garner the maximum amount of public support and launch a political attack on the ruling party, which some political watchers believe that, in light of the LDP's recent scandal-mired run, might be a series challenge.

Abe opting not to give a policy speech, not to hold a budget committee speech nor to deliberate burning issues in parliament, some of which would see Abe grilled by the opposition over cronyism allegations that could have significant bearing on public opinion, has exacerbated the opposition.

The leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, Maehara, took aim at the plan saying that the prime minister dodging making a policy speech or avoiding parliamentary deliberations in the extraordinary session, is an "act that ridicules the highest organ of state power."

Last Thursday, the Democratic Party refused to attend steering committees of the lower and upper houses that were scheduled to hold board meetings, in protest of the ruling camp's bullish plan to dissolve the lower house which they are opposed to with senior members calling it "illogical" and "self serving."

The meetings were subsequently canceled.

Not holding an extraordinary Diet session also saw the opposition camp vexed with a member of the Japanese Communist Party last Friday stating that the opposition camp had insisted the government convene an extraordinary session based on a constitutional provision.

The lawmaker stated that dissolving the lower house without holding any session would violate the constitution.

Abe, regardless, is expected to dissolve the lower house on Thursday, with plans for a general election on Oct. 22.