Former posts minister Eita Yashiro declared Monday he will run as an independent in the Tokyo No. 12 district in the Sept. 11 general election and tendered his resignation from the Liberal Democratic Party, alleging he was betrayed by LDP executives.
Yashiro’s move rattled the LDP-New Komeito ruling coalition because the two parties are jointly backing a key New Komeito candidate in the single-seat district, which covers Kita Ward and western Adachi Ward.
Yashiro, 68, indicated Aug. 18 he wouldn’t run in the district so the ruling bloc could get behind Akihiro Ota, New Komeito’s deputy secretary general.
Yashiro claimed he had cut a backstage deal at the time with LDP executives to run only on the party’s ticket in the Tokyo proportional representation segment.
Speaking to reporters at his office in Kita Ward, he said, “I don’t know whether (the executives) took it as a promise,” but they indicated they wanted him to run as a welfare expert in the Tokyo proportional representation segment.
Yashiro said that after his meeting with the executives he met with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and was told his decision not to run against Ota was appreciated.
LDP leaders said the party would not endorse any of the 37 members who voted against Koizumi’s postal privatization bills in the Lower House in early July.
But they tried to make an exception in the case of Yashiro, who did vote against the bills. They wanted him to refrain from running against Ota to prevent Democratic Party of Japan candidate Yukihisa Fujita from reaping the benefits.
The Japanese Communist Party is fielding Ken Nonoyama in the district.
But the LDP ploy fell through over the weekend when the deal leaked and the party drew flak for having a double standard.
Yashiro said he was told Saturday to bring an abstract and copy of his family registry to LDP headquarters and the party would let him run on its proportional representation ticket as a welfare expert.
Yashiro said he had hoped to continue engaging in welfare activities in the LDP at the national level. But that goal was suddenly dashed.
“I wonder what an LDP promise is,” a tearful Yashiro said from his wheelchair. “I guess that’s politics, but I must not continue being a sheep in the Koizumi theater.”
“I really feel disappointed with the LDP, and feel I must part with the party now,” he said.
LDP Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe later told reporters “there was no such deal.” He claimed his party was considering fielding Yashiro as a proportional representation candidate but dropped the idea when Koizumi said “making an exception is not a good idea.”
New Komeito leader Takenori Kanzaki said Yashiro’s move may have a negative impact on backers of his party, calling the Tokyo No. 12 district the “symbol of (the coalition’s) electoral cooperation.”
In the 2003 election, the LDP fielded Yashiro in the proportional representation block and collaborated with New Komeito to help Ota win.
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