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The Liberal Democratic Party’s goal for the next House of Representatives election is to secure a single-party majority, LDP Secretary General Shinzo Abe said Wednesday.

The remark by Abe, appointed the LDP’s No. 2 man Sunday, indicates that the party’s new executive lineup will bear responsibility if it fails to achieve this goal.

In fact, this target, unveiled during an interview with several media organizations, is rather conservative, given that the LDP already holds 244 of the 480 seats in the House of Representatives.

In this regard, Abe was apparently trying to fend off potential criticism from within the party should the LDP suffer a defeat in the poll, which is widely expected to be held in November.

The LDP currently is in a coalition with New Komeito, which has 31 seats in the Lower House, and the New Conservative Party, which has 10. The LDP is eight seats short of a single-party majority in the House of Councilors.

“The biggest mission for me is to win elections at all costs,” said Abe, a 49-year-old Lower House member from Yamaguchi Prefecture. “I want to focus solely on that goal.”

Both Abe and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi have logged extraordinarily high popularity ratings in media polls taken since Monday’s Cabinet shakeup.

During Wednesday’s interview, Abe said he remains an advocate of the theory that Japan should be allowed to exercise its right to collective self-defense and revise the pacifist Constitution.

The current government interpretation of the Constitution is that Japan has this right — but is banned from exercising it.

Although the party will follow the current government policy of maintaining the war-renouncing Constitution, he will play an active role at the party level in reviewing the country’s security policies, Abe added.

He has long been regarded as hawk, given his tough stance against North Korea and his calls for constitutional revisions, as well as other proactive security policies.

He argued, however, that terms such as “hawk” or “dove” no longer have significant meaning.

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