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LDP exec mulls novel notion: fielding opinions

by Alex Martin

Ryotaro Tanose, new chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council, says good policies can only come from heated discussions among lawmakers, adding he will work to promote precisely such an environment.

Tanose, a former senior vice finance minister, said during a recent group interview that while he intends to shrink the number of General Council members from 31 to 25 — a necessary procedure considering the drastic decrease in the number of LDP lawmakers following the landslide defeat in the general election — he would strive to attract lawmakers from various fields to garner a wide range of opinions.

“Ideas are spawned only through in-depth discussions — you could call that my philosophy in life,” Tanose said, adding that for the LDP to regain power, it must improve communications and cooperation internally and restructure itself, actions that he said have been neglected for too long.

Tanose, who on his Web site says he traveled to 33 countries while a student at Nagoya Institute of Technology — an experience he said made him take notice of politics — was a surprise choice for the post, considering his relative inexperience.

Critics speculate that LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki appointed him general council chairman as a reward for his support during the election to decide on the party head.

Tanose said the LDP accumulated “dirt” over its half-century rule that needs to be washed off.

“I believe our defeat (in the general election) was the voice of the voters telling us to start over,” Tanose said.

On how Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama managed to become prime minister despite a fundraising scandal, Tanose said it reflected the public’s strong desire for a regime change. “That couldn’t have happened when the LDP was in power,” he said.