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As a general election looms, the Liberal Democratic Party released plans Thursday to reform its candidate endorsement system but failed to clarify a precise time for restricting hereditary candidacies.

To drum up voter support, a panel from the ruling party suggested the LDP stop giving “priority consideration” to kin of serving Diet lawmakers when selecting candidates, a practice increasingly being criticized as unfair.

But the panel, led by former LDP Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe, backpedaled by failing to state when the LDP would do this.

The panel had more or less decided to make the restriction of hereditary candidates a campaign pledge for the next Lower House poll, which must be held by the fall.

Takebe told a news conference that he asked LDP President and Prime Minister Taro Aso to “put the plans into practice immediately,” when he handed the report to him at LDP headquarters.

But he added that Aso and the party leadership have the final say on the report, and that the LDP has already offered to endorse some hereditary candidates.

He was apparently referring to Shinjiro Koizumi, the second son of ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and Shoichi Usui, the eldest son of former Justice Minister Hideo Usui.

However, Aso, grandson of the late Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, is not opposed to endorsing hereditary candidates.

Hereditary politicians are often criticized because they have an easier time entering the Diet. They can coast on established reputations as well as draw from support groups already in place and fund management bodies in their inherited constituencies.

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