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Former Construction Minister Shizuka Kamei said Monday that he and his fledgling faction led by Masakuni Murakami will continue to support Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi as Liberal Democratic Party president.

In a speech at a Tokyo hotel, Kamei said it is not good to shuffle the head of the government too often, as seen in past years, adding that the prime minister should serve for longer terms to establish trust among international circles. “There are many respectable politicians within the LDP, but I don’t think we are in a situation where we must find someone to replace Prime Minister Obuchi,” Kamei said.

The LDP’s other faction leaders have recently begun to gear up their own preparations for the LDP presidential election scheduled for September.

Kamei and Murakami formed a new faction earlier this month. The new faction headed by Murakami, consists of 60 members from both houses of the Diet, making it the fourth-largest group within the LDP. Kamei serves as the deputy head of the faction.

The new faction is said to be hoping to expand its influence within the party as the deciding-vote holder in important decision making.

As to a possible general election, Kamei said the time is not yet ripe for Obuchi to call a snap election because the LDP must first work on economic recovery and strengthening its support base. “Without establishing a solid support base, it will be a disaster for the LDP,” he said.

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