The Social Democratic Party said Thursday it has “expelled” Kinuko Ofuchi, a House of Councilors member, from the party, even though last month she was the one who wanted out.

She submitted a letter of resignation from the party in October, but the SDP refused to accept it.

“At present, an increasing number of people are being turned away from the existing parties,” Ofuchi said in a statement sent to the media after stating her intention to leave the opposition party last month. “I hope to continue my activities so a political force exists around which a wider spectrum of citizens can gather.”

Ofuchi felt the party was inhospitable to her idea of the SDP forming a parliamentary group within the Upper House and she was dissatisfied with its handling of issues regarding North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals, SDP sources said, without elaborating.

An SDP disciplinary committee said Ofuchi herself was in a responsible position regarding the North Korean abduction issue as president of SDP Upper House members, and thus could have taken action by herself.

The party had close relations with Pyongyang and had long maintained that no abductions had taken place contrary to the government’s position and North Korea’s own recent admission that it had kidnapped several Japanese.

Ofuchi’s departure followed that of SDP Upper House member Yoko Tajima in October. Tajima was also reportedly dissatisfied with the party’s stance regarding the abductions.

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