National

Mori selects Ozato to chair LDP’s Executive Council

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has informally appointed Sadatoshi Ozato, former chief of the Management and Coordination Agency, as chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Executive Council, LDP sources said Thursday.

Ozato will replace Yukihiko Ikeda, another member of the faction led by former LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato. The two had agreed earlier that Ikeda would step down, the sources said.

The appointment of Ozato would complete the LDP’s key postings. Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka and Policy Research Affairs Council Chairman Shizuka Kamei, who initially urged Ikeda to stay on, will be reappointed, the sources said.

In the hope of uniting the whole party, which has been split by factional disputes, Mori, who is also LDP president, decided to accept Kato’s request to appoint Ozato. Ozato was passed over for the post by the late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who appointed Ikeda, souring relations between their factions.

Kato ran against Obuchi for prime minister in the last election.

The latest appointments will take effect in line with the July 4 launch of Mori’s new Cabinet, which will be formed jointly by the LDP, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party.

The LDP and the opposition camp agreed Thursday to convene a special three-day Diet session Tuesday, when the speaker and vice speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as the prime minister, will be elected.

Mori is expected to be re-elected prime minister.