New Komeito chief Kanzaki supports Mori on June vote

New Komeito party leader Takenori Kanzaki said Wednesday that he will support Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s decision on the timing of a general election, which is likely be held in late June.

“I would like to respect Prime Minister Mori’s final decision,” Kanzaki said in a speech at a Tokyo hotel.

Kanzaki said that although Mori has yet to decide on the election date, the poll may take place earlier than previously expected as many Diet members have already started preparations for the election. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering a vote on June 18 or June 25, he added.

A general election must be held by Oct. 19, when the terms for incumbent Lower House members expire. But Mori can dissolve the chamber for a snap poll before that time in his capacity of prime minister.

Kanzaki said he will ask Mori to meet with him about the election date, adding, “I would like to exchange opinions with the prime minister.”

Mori is expected to make a decision on the election after taking into consideration his diplomatic schedule ahead of the Group of Eight summit July 21-23 in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture.

The prime minister is scheduled to visit Japan’s G8 partners — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States — between late April and early May.

The LDP, over which Mori presides, is the dominant party in the tripartite ruling coalition with New Komeito and the Conservative Party.

Kanzaki said he wants New Komeito to win 50 seats in the next election for the House of Representatives, up from the current 42.

“The minimum goal is that the three ruling parties will win a combined 241 seats,” he said, which would give the allies a majority in the Lower House.

A recently enacted law cuts by 20 the number of Lower House seats elected by proportional representation and the total number of the chamber’s seats from 500 to 480.

Kanzaki said the public has a choice between the “stable, reforming administration” of the LDP, New Komeito and Conservative Party or an “anxious, confusing administration” of the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, and the Japanese Communist Party.