Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi officially asked political scientist Yoichi Masuzoe on Thursday to run for the House of Councilors in July as one of the Liberal Democratic Party’s proportional representation candidates.

“I want you to take part in my effort toward reform and be a symbol of the Koizumi Cabinet,” Koizumi was quoted as saying.

Masuzoe, who once ran unsuccessfully in the Tokyo gubernatorial election, said he will make his decision after Koizumi returns from a trip to the United States and Europe on July 5.

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