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The Liberal Democratic Party, which lacks a majority in the Upper House, began policy discussions Tuesday with opposition groups Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party,) Komei and the Liberal Party in a bid to forge closer ties with the opposition camp.The LDP hopes to forge better links with Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party), Komei and the Liberal Party for greater cooperation.The LDP started discussions Tuesday morning with Shinto Heiwa and Komei on their proposal to distribute merchandise coupons to the public to boost stagnant personal consumption. The LDP also held talks with the Liberal Party later in the day on possible joint revisions to a credit insurance association law.In a related move, Shinto Heiwa and Komei urged the government and the LDP to include the gift coupon measure in an economic package to be compiled in mid-November.During a meeting with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Heiwa head Takenori Kanzaki and Komei leader Toshiko Hamayotsu demanded that the government introduce a measure to issue 30,000 yen coupons with expiry dates to each citizen to expand personal consumption. Giving coupons to individual citizens was one of Komei’s campaign pledges for the July Upper House elections.Obuchi said the LDP, which he heads, will consider their proposal but said the party has some problems in implementing the plan, Kanzaki told reporters, noting the prime minister also said the government will compile an economic package and wants suggestions from the opposition parties. Heiwa and Komei made the same request to the LDP executives.After the meeting, LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori told reporters he had suggested that a joint council be set up to consider the coupon plan. The LDP executives’ inclination to promote discussions can be seen as an effort to forge closer ties with Heiwa and Komei, which will merge early next month into the second-largest opposition party in the Diet.

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