Your Party no party to ruling bloc


Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe said Monday that his group, which scored great gains in Sunday’s Upper House election, has no intention of joining the ruling coalition and urged Prime Minister Naoto Kan to dissolve the Lower House.

“I think the prime minister should gracefully step down — a political gesture that would be in line with the results of the election,” Watanabe said. “If he is not going to resign, the prime minister should dissolve the Lower House and call for an election.”

The small opposition Your Party became a key holder of the decisive vote in the Upper House by winning 10 seats, bringing its strength in the chamber to 11.

The Democratic Party of Japan may try desperately to woo Your Party into the coalition, which includes Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), now that the bloc has lost its Upper House majority, but Watanabe firmly rejected the idea.

He added, however, that his party would be willing to cooperate if the DPJ accepts its policies.

“Forming a coalition is out of the question,” Watanabe said. “Your Party is all about agenda, and we can’t cooperate with a party with a different agenda. But we can coordinate in areas where our agendas are consistent.”

Your Party, now that it has gained the more than 10 seats needed in the Upper House to submit nonbudget-related bills, will be able to propose legislation.

“I think that the people recognized us for our unwavering agenda and our firm resolve,” Watanabe said. “We will continue moving forward with one agenda item after another by implementing policies and submitting bills.”

Watanabe meanwhile plans to side with the opposition camp in electing the Upper House president.

Wresting the top post from the DPJ would enable the opposition camp to control Upper House operations, making it difficult for the ruling bloc to swiftly enact bills.

DPJ lawmaker Satsuki Eda, who won re-election Sunday, is the chamber’s current president.

“Naturally, we will replace Mr. Eda, reflecting the will of the people,” Watanabe said.