DPJ power rift nonsense: Hirano

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Speculation that the Democratic Party of Japan is being criticized for obscuring the roles of the Cabinet and influential DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa is groundless, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Friday.

Speaking in a joint interview with media outlets, Hatoyama’s right-hand man insisted that dual power in policymaking between the Cabinet and Ozawa will not become an issue. Ozawa is widely suspected of having greater sway than Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who doubles as DPJ president.

“There could be occasions when I will visit the party and ask for cooperation,” Hirano told reporters, adding that both the DPJ and the Cabinet will be pursuing the same goals in the long run.

Hirano told reporters the extraordinary Diet session to be called this month will focus on passing bills that fulfill the pledges the DPJ made in the Lower House election.

“This is about the cooperation to realize policies that support the public’s lives,” Hirano said, expressing confidence about future collaboration with the DPJ administration.

Hirano, one of the less noticeable characters in the DPJ’s all-star Cabinet, previously served as DPJ deputy secretary general. His appointment as the government’s top spokesman was greeted with a bit of surprise, but Hirano said he is dedicated to regulating the team.

As for the formation of the ruling coalition with the Social Democratic Party and Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), Hirano said the framework was not created to ensure DPJ control of the Upper House. All parties will coordinate closely and respect each other, he said.

As for moving the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Hirano said U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan in mid-November will be time for the government to reach a consensus on the matter.