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Popular Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru expressed willingness Wednesday to run in the next general election, saying he is “serious” about his bold condition that he would only run on the Liberal Democratic Party ticket if the party lists him as a candidate for LDP president.

“I will go into national politics for the sake of Miyazaki,” Higashikokubaru told reporters.

“I won’t be second in line to the post of prime minister. I know my role is to become the ‘face’ of the LDP in the Lower House election by running in the party presidential race,” said the comedian-turned-politician. “I am very serious. I’m not fooling around or making a fool of (the LDP).”

On Tuesday, LDP Election Strategy Council Chairman Makoto Koga visited the Miyazaki prefectural office and asked Higashikokubaru to run in the Lower House election, which must be held by the fall.

“It can’t be helped if (the LDP) becomes an opposition party. I will check the politics of the DPJ,” Higashikokubaru said.

Meanwhile, some LDP lawmakers criticized Koga for making the offer.

“Asking Higashikokubaru to ‘help’ because the party lacks energy already represents defeat,” said House of Councilors lawmaker Kazuya Maruyama.

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