Opposition parties said Sunday they will demand former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa be summoned to the Diet to respond to allegations that he leaked police information to his former mistress and is closely tied with a rightwing extremist.

Speaking on an NHK television program, Naoto Kan, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, suggested Nakagawa be summoned to the Diet to make clear “whether Mr. Nakagawa can still deny what he has denied so far.”

Other opposition leaders on the program, including Kazuo Shii, chief of the Japanese Communist Party Secretariat, voiced similar views.

Nakagawa, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s closest aide, resigned Friday under the strain of heavy criticism leveled at him by weekly magazines. The publications accused the government’s former top spokesman of having links with a senior member of a rightwing group and of having an affair with a woman in her 20s whom he warned of an imminent police raid.

Nakagawa, 56, was replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party who has been elected to the House of Representatives four times.

The opposition parties are expected to ask the LDP-led ruling coalition to summon Nakagawa before the Lower House Budget Committee today to explain the allegations.

However, senior members of the coalition said they will reject calls to summon Nakagawa. The three coalition parties are the LDP, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party.

Acting Secretary General Koji Omi, who also appeared on the program, said without great detail that he personally doesn’t believe Nakagawa should be summoned to the Diet.

Fukuda stated the obvious: “Police will investigate if there are any allegations (involving Nakagawa).” He added that Nakagawa himself said he never leaked police information to the woman.

Kato engages dissent

Koichi Kato, former secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said Sunday there is no need to elect a new party president as its Young Turks demand.

“The presidential election is scheduled for September next year,” the senior LDP member told a television talk show. “It is not good to change what has been decided. If there is a solid consensus within the party (for a change), that’s a different matter. But we have not seen such a degree of consensus.”

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori is the current president of the LDP, and it is widely believed Kato would be the front runner if such an election were immediately held.

At a forum in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, on Saturday, the faction of young challengers called for an election by the end of 2000 to prepare for a House of Councilors poll scheduled for next summer.

The group has blasted the LDP leadership for sticking to old-fashioned politics and has urged Mori to resign after a series of bungled problems set off by his gaffes and his aides, including former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa, who resigned Friday amid mounting scandals.

The leaders in the younger generation of lawmakers include Nobuteru Ishihara.

LDP Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka and other party kingpins have suggested punishing the vocal upstarts for their dissent.

But on the TV program, Kato noted that the younger politicians “do not deserve to be punished just for discussing how the party is run and what policies should be proposed. If they are penalized, it would weaken the party.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.