Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto is expected to retire from the Diet without running in the Sept. 11 House of Representatives election, members of the Liberal Democratic Party said Friday.
The 68-year-old Hashimoto told supporters Thursday in Okayama Prefecture that he will not run in his Okayama No. 4 single-seat constituency due to health reasons.
But the LDP does not allow its candidates to run only in the proportional representation section.
An LDP executive said the same night that the party will not make any exceptions.
In place of Hashimoto, the supporters called on his 63-year-old wife, Kumiko, to run in the constituency, a suggestion neither Hashimoto nor his wife rejected, according to Hashimoto’s office.
Hashimoto stepped down as chief of the LDP’s largest faction in July last year over a scandal involving an undeclared 100 million yen donation to his faction from a national dental lobby. He claimed didn’t remember receiving the check.
Hashimoto had since indicated his intention to retire from politics after his term as a Lower House member expired.
The chamber was dissolved Monday for a general election.
Hashimoto served 14 terms in the powerful chamber and served as prime minister between January 1996 and July 1998.
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