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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wants former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to quit politics because he’s too old — and people in the 85-year-old’s hometown agree.

Many residents of Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, responded coolly Thursday to news that Nakasone was resisting calls from the Liberal Democratic Party to make way for younger lawmakers.

The LDP veteran has rejected Koizumi’s request to abandon his plans to run in the Nov. 9 general election.

While one 54-year-old company employee in Takashi said he respected Nakasone for the great contribution he has made, he pointed out that “every person has to make a proper departure.”

“He should follow the example of Senichi Hoshino, the manager of the Hanshin Tigers (baseball team), who (recently) announced his coming resignation in a neat fashion,” the man said. “I hope he doesn’t try to run in a single-seat constituency.”

A 33-year-old housewife in the city was similarly unsympathetic.

“It’s not the place for a politician molded in the old style, and he should step aside for those who are coming up,” she said.

An influential member of the prefectural assembly who is close to Nakasone did not welcome the possibility of him seeking a 21st Diet term. He said it would not be fitting of the former prime minister to “leave a stain” on his career.

According to staff at Nakasone’s local office, senior representatives of his support groups will meet with the former prime minister within the next few days to discuss the situation.

Residents of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, meanwhile had mixed feelings over the political retirement of their favorite son, former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, who agreed to voluntary abandon plans to run in the election.

“Because younger people are on the rise, it’s important to follow the set rules,” said a 63-year-old man who has been a longtime supporter of Miyazawa, 84.

But Shinya Okuhara, secretary general of the LDP’s Hiroshima chapter, said that while he respects Miyazawa’s grave decision, it was deeply regrettable because he was the pride of Hiroshima Prefecture.

Miyazawa’s nephew, Yoichi Miyazawa, is planning to run in the prefecture’s No. 7 electoral district, and his supporters were at a loss over how to gauge the effect on his campaign of the elder Miyazawa’s retirement.

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