Hirohisa Fujii, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, on Wednesday declined to continue holding his current post after Katsuya Okada enters a new term this month as party chief.
His refusal is expected to deal a hard blow to Okada, who has tried to persuade the veteran lawmaker into staying in the post since Okada was re-elected without contest as DPJ chief late last month.
“I believe that it’s not desirable for me to serve for a long time in such an important post as secretary general, which is responsible for all party affairs involving personnel, finance and organization,” Fujii told a news conference at the party headquarters late Wednesday night. “The DPJ has more talented people than the Liberal Democratic Party, so it’s not good for me to not provide them with a chance” to take on key positions.
Okada has also asked party policy chief Sengoku Yoshito and Diet affairs chief Tatsuo Kawabata to remain in their current positions. He said Fujii, Yoshito and Kawabata led the DPJ to victory in the House of Councilors election in July.
He has also tried to convince other DPJ heavyweights, including Ichiro Ozawa and Yukio Hatoyama, to accept key positions and secure party unity to better compete against the LDP-led government. Ozawa and Hatoyama have not yet given clear answers to his offer.
Noda to run in 2006
Seiko Noda,a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, has indicated that she intends to run in the next party president race in 2006 during an interview with monthly magazine Bungeishunju that will be published Friday.
Noda is considered a possible candidate for a post in Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet reshuffle, which is expected by the end of the month. But Noda said she would refuse any offer and criticized Koizumi’s plans to privatize postal services.
“I can’t really imagine how I will be in two years, but I would like to be a lawmaker who can shine with my own strength,” she is quoted as saying on the LDP presidential race.
Seen within the LDP as a future candidate for prime minister, Noda said that since being first elected to the House of Representatives in 1993, she has always asked herself whether she would be able to answer questions well in Diet if she became prime minister, according to Bungeishunju.