Political party leaders had mixed reactions to U.S. President George W. Bush’s re-election Thursday that ranged from relief to demands for Washington to review its policy on Iraq.

Leaders of the ruling coalition breathed a sigh of relief with Bush’s re-election, which they reckoned signaled continuity in diplomatic and economic policy.

“It is very delightful and (we) would like to congratulate” him on his re-election, Tsutomu Takebe, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters. We “expect our countries to work in closer cooperation from the perspective that the Japanese-U.S. alliance serves the whole world.”

New Komeito leader Takenori Kanzaki told reporters that Bush’s re-election would make it easy for Japan and the U.S. to work together because of the “personal and friendly relationship” between Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

But while leaders of the opposition camp also extended their congratulations, their messages were tempered by calls for the Bush administration to put greater importance on cooperating with the international community to achieve world peace.

Democratic Party of Japan President Katsuya Okada urged Bush to make efforts toward bringing peace and stability to the world, saying he “hopes (the administration) will change in the way we want it to.”

Earlier in the day, Okada met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker at the U.S. Embassy. Okada told reporters that Baker reassured him that there is a high possibility that the Bush administration would attach greater importance to international cooperation in its second term.

Japanese Communist Party chief Kazuo Shii strongly demanded in a statement that the Bush administration reverse its fundamental policy on Iraq and help the Iraqi people achieve sovereignty by returning to the principle of a world order based on the United Nations Charter.

Social Democratic Party Secretary General Seiji Mataichi issued a statement urging the Bush administration to drastically revise its policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive attacks and to demonstrate leadership by joining hands with the international community in building world security based on dialogue and cooperation.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.