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Ruling DPJ seeks alliance with opposition LDP chiefs

Date Posted: 2012-03-23

What had been rumored in recent weeks, that the ruling Democratic Party of Japan was trying to form a grand coalition with its primary opposition has now been confirmed by the countryís deputy prime minister, who visited Okinawa last weekend.

Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada has approached the senior leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, trying to woo opponents into cooperating in order to push through legislations covering a sales tax increase and issuing of deficit-covering bonds. Demands by the opposition LDP and its ally, New Komeito, have the government and ruling party trying to press the new bills through before any elections.

The LDP and DPJ are far apart on the concept, according to political insiders. Right now, the LDP is weighing the feasibility of pushing Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda into capping a snap Lower House of Representatives election. From the DPJís side, any serious talk of a coalition between the two factions could lead some of its own members, including those who oppose the proposed tax hike, and those who are allies of former party leader Ichiro Ozawa, to bail out of the party.

Observers say, though, that any alliance between the two parties would be short-lived; that once tax hike legislation sailed through the Diet, the relationship would be dissolved or abandoned. At that point, it would be election politics as usual.

Secret talks between Noda and the LDPís President, Sadakazu Tanigaki, had been reported to have taken place February 25th, with talk focused on the critical tax hike. Other secret meetings, sources say, have been taking place regularly. LDP leaders are reportedly leaning toward to coalition deal, believing itís a step necessary to get the prime minister to dissolve the Lower House and call for immediate elections.

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