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Democratic Party of Japan chief Katsuya Okada said Monday he is determined to use the momentum created by his party’s strong performance in the House of Councilors election to prepare for regime change.

“We managed to achieve our goal, as we narrowly secured more seats than the Liberal Democratic Party,” Okada told reporters the morning after Sunday’s election.

“Looking at the LDP and New Komeito as a group, however, the DPJ lacks power. We must make a fresh start to realize a change of regime through the next general election.”

He said the DPJ must present more concrete policies than those mapped out in past elections, decide on its priorities and seek a broader range of talent to win a majority in both Diet chambers.

He said the DPJ will proceed with preliminary arrangements to authorize by the end of September as many as 40 candidates for the next House of Representatives election, which has not yet been scheduled, in addition to those who narrowly lost in November’s general election.

He urged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and the ruling coalition to “sincerely accept” the election results and bring the government’s pension reform plan back to the drawing board.

The DPJ leader said the Self-Defense Forces’ participation in a multinational force in Iraq must be discussed in the Diet from scratch because it was decided without deliberation in the legislature.

Diet officials said later Monday that a short extraordinary Diet session will be convened July 30.

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