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The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) will support the Liberal Democratic Party in the Sept. 11 general election, the business lobby’s chairman said Monday.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Keidanren Chairman Hiroshi Okuda said the move comes “in view of past events” between the nation’s most powerful business group and the dominant LDP.

Keidanren sources said the official backing is aimed at showing solidarity with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s structural reforms, including postal privatization.

The endorsement came a day before the start of official campaigning for the House of Representatives race.

It is the first time Nippon Keidanren has openly declared its backing for the LDP in a Lower House election since the termination of the so-called 1955 political system in the general election of 1993. Until then, the LDP had maintained single-party rule in the Diet.

The LDP has positioned postal privatization as the focal point of the election and has vowed to continue with ongoing reforms if elected back as the majority power in the chamber.

Keidanren determined it was necessary to clarify its stance going into the election and offer its support for the policies the LDP is pushing, according to a senior official of the business group.

The decision to back the LDP was confirmed during a meeting of top Keidanren officials last week was already conveyed to the LDP leadership, according to sources.

It will now be relayed to member companies through its local organizations. The firms, for their part, will begin pondering how they will specifically show their support for the LDP. Measures will probably include an increase in political donations and the offer of support in individual campaigns.

Nippon Keidanren, born in May 2002 through a merger of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) and the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations (Nikkeiren), comprises some 1,600 companies, about 130 industrial associations and about 50 regional employers’ associations.

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