Special Diet session to elect next prime minister to open Sept. 16

Kyodo News

A special Diet session is expected to be called Sept. 16 for electing the next prime minister, a high-ranking government official said Tuesday.

Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama is certain to be picked as prime minister following his party’s overwhelming victory in the Lower House election.

The official said on condition of anonymity that the special session is planned for four days through Sept. 19. He said the plan takes into account the schedule of Emperor Akihito as well as the DPJ’s latest intentions.

Hatoyama said in the evening he will form his Cabinet immediately after he is elected prime minister.

The DPJ is moving to launch a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party and Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) soon after Hatoyama officially takes office, DPJ sources said. The party had earlier called for the special Diet session to open Sept. 15 to provide more flexibility for Hatoyama’s diplomatic itinerary, which will include attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month.

To foster coalition ties, Hatoyama met Tuesday with new Kokumin Shinto chief Shizuka Kamei and agreed to start talks soon on forming a coalition along with the SDP.

Kamei said Hatoyama asked him to help create a coalition and that he accepted the offer.

The two leaders met for the first time since Sunday’s sweeping victory by the DPJ. On Monday, Kamei took the top post of the tiny opposition party after his predecessor, Tamisuke Watanuki, lost his Lower House seat in the election.

According to Kamei, he told Hatoyama he “would be pleased to take part in a new government” if the two parties can find common ground.

The SDP, another small party, is expected to decide Wednesday to join the coalition negotiations.

Earlier in the day, Kamei and SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima agreed to beef up their partnership ahead of the coalition talks.