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Two months after his Diet comeback in November, Koichi Kato seems to be in two minds over whether to keep a low profile until he is no longer dogged by scandal — or else reclaim his outspoken political identity.

Kato, a diplomat-turned-politician, said he will steer clear of Nagata-cho power struggles. At the same time, however, he has emerged as a vocal critic of the decision by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi — his longtime ally — to send Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq at a time when their safety cannot be assured.

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