The government and the ruling parties held their first coordination session Monday since the Liberal Democratic Party entered into a coalition government with the Liberal Party last Thursday.

Ichiro Ozawa, head of the Liberal Party, and Home Affairs Minister Takeshi Noda, the party’s lone Cabinet member, attended the meeting, held at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.

Others present included Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka and LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori.

In other news the same day, former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu said that he had joined the Liberal Party and assumed the post of top adviser at the request of party leader Ichiro Ozawa. “I left the (Liberal Democratic Party) because I could not agree with its forming a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party, but the situation has changed since last year’s House of Councilors election,” Kaifu said.

Kaifu quit the LDP and challenged the LDP-backed SDP Chairman Tomiichi Murayama for a coalition prime ministership in 1994. Murayama won.

Kaifu, who was prime minister for the LDP from August 1989 to November 1991, was the first leader of the now-defunct Shinshinto in December 1994. After Shinshinto was dissolved in December 1997, however, he became an independent.

At the meeting, the participants reconfirmed the continuation of policy project teams made up of lawmakers from both parties. Earlier in the day, Ozawa made a round of visits to former Prime Ministers Yasuhiro Nakasone, Noboru Takeshita and Kiichi Miyazawa, all senior LDP members, at their offices in Tokyo.

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