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The Liberal Democratic Party will push the government to spend 500 billion yen in reserve funds on public works projects by the end of July to boost the nation’s economy, reappointed LDP policy chief Shizuka Kamei said Friday.

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori poses Friday with the newly appointed executives of the Liberal Democratic Party at LDP headquarters in Tokyo; (from left) Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka, Executive Council Chairman Sadatoshi Ozato and Policy Affairs Research Council chief Shizuka Kamei.

The LDP will maintain its current stimulus policy for the time being, with the intention of putting the economy on a steady path of growth of between 2 percent and 3 percent, Kamei told a news conference.

Earlier in the day, the party’s Executive Board named Sadatoshi Ozato, former chief of the Management and Coordination Agency, as chairman of the Executive Council. The board also reappointed Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka.

Makoto Koga, a senior member of the LDP faction led by former Secretary General Koichi Kato, will also retain his post as chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee, Nonaka said.

With the appointment of Ozato, a member of Kato’s faction, Mori hopes to end factional disputes within the party and strengthen its unity.

Kato and Ozato’s predecessor, Yukihiko Ikeda, both members of the same faction, have reportedly been on bad terms since Kato ran as a candidate in the LDP’s presidential race in 1999.

After the presidential election, Obuchi appointed Ikeda, who had opposed Kato’s candidacy, as head of the Executive Council — despite Ozato suggesting Kato for the post.

But Kato and Ikeda made their peace Thursday after Ikeda contacted his faction leader to relay his intention to step down from the post.

Sakaiya to serve again

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said Friday that he plans to reappoint Taichi Sakaiya as director general of the Economic Planning Agency in his new Cabinet, to be launched Tuesday, despite Sakaiya’s earlier comments that he did not want the position.

Speaking to reporters at his official residence, Mori said, “I will follow Mr. Obuchi’s idea,” referring to the late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s appointment of Sakaiya as EPA head in July 1998.

Mori referred to Sakaiya as one of the key members of his Cabinet, along with Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, who are likely to retain their posts to prepare for the upcoming Group of Eight summit.

Earlier in the day, Sakaiya, a bureaucrat-turned-writer, said he has not heard from Mori about his possible reappointment as EPA head, adding that he personally wants to become his own master.