• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi may dissolve the Diet and call a snap election if the opposition attempts to block passage of a bill to send Self-Defense Forces units to help Iraq’s postwar reconstruction, a key lawmaker warned Monday.

“If they submit a barrage of no-confidence motions to scrap the important bill, Prime Minister Koizumi might have to seek a public judgment” at the end of the current Diet session, Hidenao Nakagawa said during a speech in Higashi-Hiroshima.

Nakagawa is head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet Affairs Committee.

The current Diet session ends next Monday.

Nakagawa, a close aide to Koizumi, also said it is certain the prime minister will dissolve the House of Representatives by the end of this year if he is re-elected LDP president in September.

“A Diet dissolution in the fall is highly possible,” Nakagawa said, citing Koizumi’s promise to consider the interests of New Komeito, one of the LDP’s two partners in the ruling coalition.

New Komeito wants to avoid having elections for both Diet chambers next year.