• Staff reports


The three candidates who unsuccessfully challenged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party on Saturday urged him to listen to his detractors in the party, despite his landslide victory in the election.

“More than 160 Diet members voted (for candidates other than Koizumi,)” said former Transport Minister Takao Fujii, who won just 65 of the 657 votes cast.

“They are not all anti-Koizumi, but I’d like Prime Minister Koizumi to demonstrate leadership by taking that fact into consideration,” he said.

Asked why his challenge had failed, Fujii attributed the loss to the fact that the faction to which he belongs was deeply divided over whom it should field against Koizumi.

He also pointed out that he has spent most of his political career being active in the Diet rather than appearing on TV programs.

“The TV factor was important,” Fujii said.

Former LDP policy chief Shizuka Kamei, who advocates massive fiscal spending to lift the economy out of its deflationary spiral, said Japanese people have yet to realize the seriousness of the economic situation.

Yet Kamei indicated that his faction is willing to cooperate with Koizumi in forming a new Cabinet, despite the fact that Kamei repeatedly lashed out Koizumi’s economic and diplomatic policies.

“It’s a matter of course we all cooperate once the election is over,” he said.

Former Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said he is ready to submit a list of members that his faction wants Koizumi to appoint as Cabinet members.

“We’d like to recommend some people, if possible,” he told reporters.

Asked about the differences in their policy proposals — his call for more spending on infrastructure as opposed to Koizumi’s austere fiscal policies — Komura said he expects Koizumi to be more flexible.

Komura added he would even welcome Koizumi “stealing” some of his policy proposals, such as the establishment of a third-party institution to examine the cost-effectiveness of public works projects.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.