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New Komeito, one of the three ruling coalition parties, re-elected Takenori Kanzaki as its leader at a party convention Saturday.

Kanzaki was the only candidate for the post, despite the party’s efforts to attract more challengers by easing the requirements for candidacy.

After being elected to his third two-year term, Kanzaki reappointed Tetsuzo Fuyushiba as secretary general, Toshiko Hamayotsu as acting representative and Kazuo Kitagawa as policy research council chairman.

In the afternoon session, Kanzaki delivered a speech in which he vowed to continue working with his party’s ruling-coalition partners — the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Conservative Party. He also pledged to strive to build a stable coalition based on strengthened trust.

Kanzaki said fighting deflation is the party’s top priority. “Unless we take comprehensive steps, Japan will sink,” he said. “Cheap tricks, offering a little at a time and postponement are no longer acceptable.”

Kanzaki also called on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to compile a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year to help revitalize the economy.

“I’m convinced the prime minister will make such a decision and order the compilation of an extra budget within this month,” Kanzaki said.

The leaders of the two other coalition partners attended the event as guests — Koizumi, who heads the LDP, and Takeshi Noda of the New Conservative Party.

Addressing the convention, Koizumi reiterated that Japan will not see economic growth without reforms.

Yet Koizumi also hinted he is flexible toward calls for an extra budget, saying, “Both the economy and politics are alive. My policy is that I will boldly and flexibly respond, as the occasion may demand.”

New Komeito, backed by Japan’s biggest lay Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai, also proposed amendments to the Constitution, including on the environment and privacy rights.

In October 1999, the party joined the ruling coalition.

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