LDP enemy Tanaka signs up with DPJ

Kyodo News

Former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka and her husband, Naoki, said Saturday that they have agreed to join the Democratic Party of Japan.

Tanaka, formerly an independent in the House of Representatives, and her husband, an independent in the Upper House, made their decisions the same day in a meeting with DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama.

Tanaka will run on the DPJ ticket from her No. 5 constituency in Niigata Prefecture, the two told a news conference.

“I need a place as (the Japanese political scene) develops into a two-party system,” said Tanaka, a daughter of late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. “I cannot realize my promises for the electorate alone.”

Tanaka resigned from the Lower House in August 2002 after she was ordered to suspend her membership in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for two years in connection with money scandals involving her state-paid secretaries.

After leaving the LDP, the outspoken former foreign minister won a seat in the 2003 Lower House election as an independent, and later participated in a parliamentary group affiliated with the DPJ.

Tanaka’s husband left the LDP last October.

The DPJ, which is widely seen to have a good chance of taking power after the Aug. 30 general election, decided to back Tanaka on Aug. 6.

Happiness chief exits

A political group backed by the Happy Science religious corporation, the Happiness Realization Party, said Saturday its head has withdrawn his bid to run in this month’s national election.

Ryuho Okawa has been dropped, along with his wife, Kyoko, from the list of candidates the group plans to field for the proportional representation portion of the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election.

Ryuho Okawa had been placed on top among the party’s candidates for the Tokyo block.