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Shiga governor mulls new no-nuclear party

Move might rally others unwilling to bend on 'third force' objectives

Kyodo

Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada is considering founding a new political party with the key goal of phasing out nuclear power, sources said Monday.

Although Kada didn’t make it official when she met the press in Otsu in the afternoon, her reported move to create a new party ahead of the Dec. 16 Lower House poll quickly drew attention from other small parties that aren’t fitting into the major “third force” that has been evolving around Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) led by ex-Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

Ichiro Ozawa, the ex-Democratic Party of Japan kingmaker who now heads Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People’s Life First), is reportedly trying to sound out Kada about forming a new force by merging his party and other small forces that oppose restarting any reactors and are against the sales tax hike and Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade accord.

Ozawa left the option open Monday for a possible tieup with Kada’s planned party, telling reporters, “If she launches a new party and calls for an alliance, we will decide on our moves based on the policy of the new party.”

Another small party led by Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura and veteran lawmaker Shizuka Kamei is also considering teaming up with Kada, separate sources said. The Kawamura-Kamei force is also antinuclear, antitax and anti-TPP.

Shiga Prefecture could be easily tainted by radioactive fallout if any of the several reactors in neighboring Fukui are hit by meltdown, thus Kada’s move just about a week before the start of official campaigning for the Dec. 16 Lower House poll adds a new twist to the equation.

The sources said Kada hopes to call on legislators and others who back her goals to join her party and to run it without relinquishing the governorship.

Ozawa’s and Kawamura’s parties are also reportedly eyeing a tieup and want the Green Wind Party that was formed this month by defectors from the ruling coalition, including Kuniko Tanioka, to join. By making all these moves, small parties hope to differentiate themselves from Nippon Ishin, which is pushing increasingly conservative policies now that Ishihara is at the helm.