Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa’s agreement Thursday to form a coalition government by January drew mixed responses Friday from members of Obuchi’s Liberal Democratic Party.

After much bickering and debate, the party’s executive council finally gave its approval to Obuchi’s decision Friday afternoon.

At a meeting of party executives that morning, Mikio Okuda, former education minister, said cooperation on elections with the Liberal Party will not be easy, meeting participants reported.

The single-seat constituency system for many Lower House seats makes it difficult for two parties to cooperate at election time, many observers say.

Tokuichiro Tamazawa, the party’s deputy secretary general, said it will be hard for members of local chapters who have been campaigning against Liberal Party candidates to cooperate in elections.

The LDP’s Iwate chapter, which Tamazawa heads, adopted a resolution Thursday opposing the agreement between Obuchi and Ozawa. Ozawa’s constituency is also in Iwate.

Tamazawa told reporters that election cooperation should only occur when certain conditions are met.

Toranosuke Katayama, Diet affairs chief in the Upper House, said it will be difficult to form a coalition government with the Liberal Party before the next ordinary Diet session in January because it takes time to agree on various policies.

Hajime Funada, who defected from the LDP with Ozawa in 1993 and later returned to the party, expressed caution, saying the agreement is a plot by Ozawa to throw the LDP into chaos.

Others expressed their approval of the agreement, saying it is the only way to stabilize the government.

Takami Eto, former chief of the Management and Coordination Agency, told reporters he would like to support Obuchi’s decision to create a stable base for the party and the government.

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