National

20 former Lower House members decide not to run

Twenty politicians who held House of Representatives seats in the last term, including former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, are not running in the Sept. 11 general election.

Others bowing out are three Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who voted against Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s postal privatization bills, including former National Public Safety Commission chief Jin Murai, 68.

Akihiko Kumashiro, 65, another of the rebels, will run for mayor in the city of Okayama after the LDP fielded a former Okayama mayor to run in his Lower House district.

Hashimoto, prime minister from 1996 to 1998, said he is retiring from politics due to poor health. He resigned as leader of the LDP’s largest faction last year when he was implicated in a scandal over secret donations from the scandal-tainted Japan Dental Association.

Hashimoto’s second son, Gaku, 31, is running in his father’s Okayama No. 4 district.

Because his father’s retirement came in the wake of the scandal, the younger Hashimoto avoids mentioning the former prime minister in his campaign speeches as he tries to gain recognition among voters in Okayama.

Of the 20 not running, 13 are from the LDP, two from the Democratic Party of Japan, three from New Komeito, one from the Japanese Communist Party and one from the Liberal League.

Of the LDP members, Sadatoshi Ozato, 75, a former LDP Executive Council chairman, and Kabun Muto, 78, a former foreign minister, also hope to see their sons take over their districts in the election.

Upper House race

A by-election for a House of Councilors seat in the Kanagawa district will be held Oct. 23 as Tsuyoshi Saito of the Democratic Party of Japan left his seat Tuesday to run in the Sept. 11 general election.

Official campaigning for the by-election will begin Oct. 6.

Saito is running in the Kanagawa No. 11 district for a House of Representatives seat.