• Kyodo News

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Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers Seiko Noda and Yosuke Tsuruho have ended their five-year de facto marriage, political sources said Tuesday.

Noda, 46, a House of Representatives member who was readmitted to the ruling party Monday, refused to confirm the report, telling reporters she could not talk about private matters in the absence of Tsuruho, 39, a member of the House of Councilors.

Noda is a five-term Lower House member from Gifu Prefecture, while Tsuruho is a two-term Upper House member from Wakayama Prefecture.

Sources close to Noda quoted her saying she and Tsuruho have been separated for the past six months.

Noda and Tsuruho announced their marriage in August 2001 but never registered it officially.

In December 2004, Noda wrote a book titled “Watashi wa Umitai” (“I Want to Give Birth”), which depicts her physical and emotional struggles as she underwent fertility treatment, and her arguments with Tsuruho, who initially opposed the treatment.

Noda and Tsuruho were given publisher Kodansha Ltd.’s “nice couple” award for 2006, along with two other couples.

On Monday, the ruling LDP readmitted 11 of the so-called postal rebels ousted by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

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