Social Democratic Party executives have decided to terminate the party’s parliamentary alliance with the Liberal Democratic Party early next month unless its demands on a proposed anticorruption bill are accepted, an SDP source said May 1.
The source said party leaders made the decision at a secret meeting held at a Tokyo hotel Wednesday, but party executives would not confirm that such a decision was made.
LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato said in the evening that Shigeru Ito, Kato’s SDP counterpart, denied the media reports when the two talked over the telephone. Kato told reporters that Ito flatly denied the reports and said SDP leader Takako Doi was puzzled by them.
Most SDP officials could not be contacted immediately on because of the Golden Week holiday. A withdrawal from the alliance, which has repeatedly been threatened in the past, may put the LDP in a difficult position in the Upper House because it lacks a majority there.
Some Japanese newspapers reported the SDP decision in the afternoon. The reports appeared at a time when the LDP and the SDP have clear policy differences related to the anticorruption bill that would prohibit lawmakers from obtaining money through influence-peddling.
The two political parties also have uncompromising stances on a set of bills to implement the revised Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines issued in September, which provide for enhanced bilateral military cooperation in the event of emergencies surrounding Japan.
The LDP had the bills approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday despite strong opposition from the SDP. Many have long considered that the SDP is waiting for the best time to leave the alliance in en effort to improve its performance at an Upper House election scheduled for July.
Many political observers predict that the poll will become a matter of life or death for the SDP, which is said to have lost its policy yolk since forming an alliance with the LDP in summer 1994. Kato said the SDP would not obtain public understanding if it leaves the alliance at such a time simply to get a better result in the elections.
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