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On the eve of the start of official campaigning for the July 12 Upper House election, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto on Wednesday asked for the support of voters so the LDP can secure the political stability he said is needed to carry out planned national reforms.

“Without political stability, we cannot carry out reforms that may be painful,” said Hashimoto in an interview with The Japan Times. “Political stability is especially indispensable in promoting reform in the nation’s financial sector.”

Although Hashimoto, who heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, declined to comment on how many seats the LDP hopes to win, 69 are necessary for it to regain a majority in the chamber. Of the party’s 119 seats in the house, 61 seats will be contested in the election.

Hashimoto stressed that the government and the LDP will not let the campaign get in the way of continued discussions on ways to dispose of nonperforming loans at financial institutions. “A state-run financial institution will be created to deal with the troubled loans,” the prime minister stated for the first time.

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