Junichiro Koizumi, new president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, inked a policy deal with his coalition partners on Wednesday, securing his ticket to become Japan’s new prime minister.
Koizumi agreed with New Komeito leader Takenori Kanzaki and New Conservative Party chief Chikage Ogi to take legislative steps during the current Diet session to implement the emergency economic package adopted by the government of his predecessor, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, on April 6.
The policy agreement included a “shared view” that economic recovery cannot be achieved without structural reform, a point which Koizumi stressed in his campaign speeches.
The three also agreed to set up an advisory council under the new prime minister to study the possibility of privatizing postal services.
The policy agreement also calls for:
* The three parties to quickly reach a conclusion on the reform of the Lower House election system.
* Honoring Koizumi’s pledge to limit the issuance of government bonds to a maximum of 30 trillion yen a year.
* A review of the government’s discretionary fund and for the coalition to make an effort to cut down on the amount used in the 2001 budget. A Foreign Ministry official was arrested for allegedly embezzling from the fund.
The agreement came after the coalition partners urged Koizumi to “take careful steps” regarding his campaign pledge to visit Yasukuni Shrine, a controversial memorial for the war dead.
Visits to the shrine by public figures have been routinely criticized by Japan’s Asian neighbors, and Koizumi’s promise to make a visit does not sit well with the two parties.
Before signing the agreement, Kanzaki told Koizumi not to violate Article 20 of the Constitution, which stipulates the separation of government and religion.
During Wednesday’s talks, Koizumi proposed to set up another advisory panel to consider introducing a popular-vote system to elect the nation’s leader. The tripartite agreement, however, simply said that the LDP president expressed such a hope.
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