LDP needs new partners: Nakasone

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party should consider cooperating with opposition forces over such policy issues as security and administrative reforms, instead of confining itself to its current loose alliance with two small parties, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said April 8.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Nakasone said he has told Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, the LDP leader, to sound out the view of each non-Communist party on the government’s proposals for fiscal and administrative reform when it compiles its blueprints in June. “After hearing whether they are for or against (the government’s proposals), the (LDP-led government) can seek cooperation from other parties” that express support for the reforms, the veteran lawmaker said. Similarly, the government should seek cooperation from like-minded parties in the review of the 1978 Japan-U.S. bilateral defense guidelines, Nakasone went on to say.

The issue is expected to spark debate among political parties because the review will focus on how and to what extent Japan will cooperate with the U.S. military in times of emergency in the Far East. The government is due to complete the review by autumn.

Because the LDP failed to win the support of its non-Cabinet partner — the Social Democratic Party — over the government’s proposal to revise a law concerning the forced use of land for the U.S. military in Okinawa Prefecture, the LDP is expected to have a hard time in reaching an agreement with the SDP over the details of the review. New Party Sakigake is the other non-Cabinet ally of the LDP.

Nakasone is considered an advocate of an LDP alliance with conservative lawmakers, mainly those in Shinshinto, the largest opposition party, instead of the LDP maintaining an alliance with the SDP, which used to be the LDP’s foe for decades in every key issue. But he denied this contention, saying he does not necessarily think of Shinshinto as a future partner for the LDP.