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DPJ expels party rebels, former party leader

Date Posted: 2012-07-12

Although it was days after Ichiro Ozawa and dozens of his supporters jumped ship and quit the Democratic Party of Japan over political differences, the DPJ made it official this week by formally expelling them.

The DPJ bounced Ozawa and 36 of his close party supporters in the lower house of the parliament because of their action, and then suspended former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama from the party for a three-month period. The decision, says DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi, was based on recommendations from the party’s ethics committee.

The 70-year-old rebel lawmaker Ozawa and 49 others handed over their DPJ resignations to voice opposition to the consumption tax being promoted by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Of that 49, 38 are lower house members whose seats represented the majority for the DPJ. Ozawa is angry with the ruling party, saying it has “betrayed” the public by joining with opposition lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party to shove the new tax bill down everyone’s throats.

Ozawa and Hatoyama have already begun meetings to discuss formation of a new party. Ozawa says his new party will oppose the tax increase. It’s not the first time he’s split from a political group. He was once a member of the Liberal Democratic Party before jumping ship in 1993 with 43 fellow lawmakers.

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