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Fukushima to suggest SDP get out of coalition

Date Posted: 2010-05-31

The ousted Consumer Affairs Minister and leader of the Social Democratic Party is now saying she’ll propose to her fellow party members they dump their coalition relationship with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s government.

Mizuho Fukushima, who was fired by Hatoyama Friday for failing to support a Cabinet resolution on moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City to northern Okinawa, says the SDP “may have to make a grave decision” on whether to stick with the Democratic Party of Japan’s government, in which the SDP and the People’s New Party are junior coalition partners. She’s already taken some issue about the way she was fired, telling television viewers “I was not dismissed personally.”

While out of the Cabinet, she’s still head of the SDP. She’s suggesting Hatoyama’s giving her the boot was more, in effect, a move to get rid of the SDP. She says she’s going to propose the SDP take action first to separate itself from the DPJ-run administration. Hatoyama, for his part, is telling reporters he hopes the SDP will stay in the coalition.

“I have worked on a range of issues with the SDP and hopefully they will continue to cooperate with us within the coalition,” the Prime Minister said. The SDP’s deputy chief, Seiji Mataichi, says it “seems natural” for the SDP to break away from the coalition. With Fukushima already out of the Cabinet, the SDP’s departure from the coalition would require the resignation of Kiyomi Tsujimoto, who’s currently senior vice minister for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Fukushima’s firing was her refusal to join the Cabinet in endorsing a resolution that supports Futenma moving to the Henoko area in northern Okinawa. She and her party have steadfastly argued against the base remaining in Okinawa, saying to do so would mean “it tramples on the feelings of the people of Okinawa and breaks a promise.” She adamantly says her SDP will have no part in swuch a move.

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