• Kyodo

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In defiance of LDP President Junichiro Koizumi’s decision to enforce an age limit on candidates, a local chapter of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is to ask the party’s headquarters to field former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone as a candidate in the upcoming general election.

On Saturday, the LDP chapter in Gunma Prefecture, Nakasone’s home constituency, adopted a resolution to seek official permission to place Nakasone on the LDP’s list of candidates for the Kita Kanto proportional representation bloc for the House of Representatives election on Nov. 9.

Nakasone, 85, on Thursday rejected overtures by Koizumi, who is both prime minister and LDP president, to persuade him to retire from politics ahead of the general election in line with the age rule.

The rule bans candidates over the age of 73 from running in the proportional representation segment of the Lower House election, but it does not cover candidates running for election in single-seat constituencies.

At Saturday’s meeting, the Gunma Prefecture chapter said in its resolution that Japan needs to retain Nakasone as a lawmaker given the depth of his knowledge and experience. Nakasone did not attend the meeting.

Nakasone said the LDP should honor a promise made in 1996 to place him at the top of the party’s proportional representation list for the Lower House elections as long as he lives.

The LDP leadership at that time made the promise in exchange for Nakasone agreeing to withdraw from the race in his constituency to benefit other candidates.

If he runs in his hometown constituency, Nakasone would have to run as an independent in the No. 4 or No. 5 single-seat constituencies, where the LDP has already identified its official candidates.

Yasuo Fukuda, chief Cabinet secretary and the government’s top spokesman, will run in the No. 4 constituency, while Yuko Obuchi, the daughter of late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, is favorite in the No. 5 constituency.

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