/

Kada steps down as leader of Nippon Mirai, takes adviser role

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada was named a policy adviser to Nippon Mirai no To (Tomorrow Party of Japan) Sunday, ending her official leadership role with the ill-fated party she founded in late November for December’s Lower House election.

Nippon Mirai made headlines after Ichiro Ozawa and his allies tied up with Kada. But Ozawa and seven allies then quit after the poll to form Seikatsu no To (Life Party), which has seven Lower House and eight Upper House members.

Nippon Mirai’s Diet ranks were reduced to just one — Lower House member Tomoko Abe. With less than the minimum five Diet members needed to be recognized as an official political party, it’s now just a political group, which means it is ineligible for public funding.

At Sunday’s meeting, Kada was named policy adviser, while Abe became the chief and general secretary. The Shiga governor, who founded Nippon Mirai as a progressive alternative to the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), said she would continue to push issues close to her heart in the runup to the Upper House poll in July. When Nippon Mirai was hastily formed just ahead of the December election, its key pillar was its pledge to end Japan’s use of nuclear power — a stand other parties backed away from.

“Without fail, I want to continue to be involved in getting women and younger people more involved in politics, and continue to promote decentralization,” Kada told reporters after the meeting.

Abe said Nippon Mirai would tie up with like-minded parties during Diet sessions and cooperate with them during the Upper House election in fielding proportional representation candidates in the hope of preventing the LDP-New Komeito coalition from winning a majority. Nippon Mirai will also target a certain number of single seat constituencies, although Abe did not say how many seats it would aim for.

Kada said she will concentrate 100 percent on her duties as the governor of Shiga, where she faces an emboldened LDP and New Komeito-controlled assembly that harshly criticized her bid to be both governor and head of a national political party.