SDP board OKs Tajima’s expulsion

The executive board of the Social Democratic Party on Thursday approved the expulsion of House of Councilors lawmaker Yoko Tajima, who submitted a letter of resignation to the party earlier this month, party officials said.

“(Tajima) failed to carry out her duty and fully recognize the weight of public trust and make efforts to realize party principles,” according to a report by the party’s discipline committee that led to Tajima’s expulsion.

By refusing to allow Tajima to leave the party of her own free will, the SDP hopes to amplify its indignation over what it believes is a selfish move by Tajima.

The opposition party will notify Tajima, 61, of her expulsion in a written statement, they said.

On Oct. 7, Tajima notified the SDP of her intention to become an independent, criticizing the party’s management and stance over North Korea-related issues.

Tajima, an outspoken feminist scholar and TV personality, criticized the party for failing to provide a full explanation of the abductions of Japanese nationals despite its years of cozy ties with North Korea.

Tajima won a seat in the Upper House in July 2001 with some 509,000 votes, making her the SDP’s top candidate in the proportional representation section of the poll.

She had expressed a strong desire to continue her political career as an independent, but SDP leader Takako Doi denounced Tajima’s plan, saying she should resign because her seat belongs to the party.