Ichiro Ozawa, president of Shinshinto, the largest opposition party, said April 9 that cooperation with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over administrative reform is possible just as the two agreed to cooperate on the issue of forced use of land for U.S. military bases in Okinawa Prefecture.

Speaking at a news conference, Ozawa said that from now on, policy consultations between parties — even between ruling and opposition forces — is possible if they share a basic stance or concept.

But Ozawa ruled out a full alliance between his party and the LDP, led by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, saying that the number of lawmakers that can cooperate on key issues is not the biggest question.

“Of course, if the LDP and Shinshinto get together, (the number of lawmakers in the alliance) will be 300 to 400, but simply having such a large number of lawmakers would not make it possible to tackle issues” facing Japan, Ozawa said.

“Whether it is administrative or fiscal reform, these reforms would not be successfully carried out unless addressed by those who are really capable,” Ozawa said. Ozawa made the comments in response to growing speculation that a recent agreement between Ozawa and Hashimoto on the Okinawa issue would cause the breakup of the present ruling alliance of the LDP, the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake and eventually trigger an alliance of conservatives, if not immediately.

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