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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was plunged into further turmoil Saturday, only one day after party heavyweight Koichi Kato intensified the pressure on embattled Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori by saying he has no plans to defend Mori in the event of a no-confidence motion.

Leaders of the LDP’s mainstream factions — including former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who leads the largest faction, and Junichiro Koizumi, who chairs the Mori group — met Saturday evening in Tokyo and confirmed their united stance to support Mori’s administration.

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