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Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Wednesday acknowledged that a merger between his Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Party is a possibility. “It is a fact that some members of the two parties are seeking the merger, saying that the policies of the parties are not so different,” Obuchi said. “I appreciate the move as one future course, if the two parties can be united in that sense.” The statement is considered indicative of Obuchi’s positive stance on the issue. In January, before forming the current tripartite coalition, the LDP allied with the Liberal Party, ending a rivalry that began when Liberal Party head Ichiro Ozawa and his followers quit the LDP in June 1993. The departure led to the LDP’s fall from power. Plans to merge the two parties have surfaced often in political circles since the parties became coalition partners. However, Obuchi, head of the LDP, said that it is not an issue that the two party chiefs can decide by themselves, adding that he will further consider it while collecting ideas from party members. “It is not an easy issue (to conclude)” Obuchi said.

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