• Kyodo News


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku’s recent remarks about a possible grand coalition between the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party have drawn cautious responses from the opposition camp.

“We will focus on the problem of the ruling parties because we are an opposition party,” LDP chief Sadakazu Tanigaki said in a speech Tuesday, denying his party would consider such a tieup.

“We aren’t thinking about it,” LDP Secretary General Tadamori Oshima said.

Sengoku’s remark “is merely intended to maintain the Cabinet” of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, he said at a news conference, also Tuesday.

Sengoku caused ripples in Nagata-cho when he said Monday during a speech, “I don’t think a grand coalition or a partial alliance is a false idea.”

At a news conference later in the day, he said the formation of a grand coalition is “possible.”

The DPJ-Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) ruling bloc lost its majority in the Upper House in the July 11 election, making it almost certain the coalition will encounter gridlock in the Diet.

The DPJ, headed by Kan, seeks to form a partial alliance with opposition parties on a case-by-case basis. But talk continues about the possibility of a DPJ-LDP grand coalition, which was advocated by former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa in 2007 when the party was still in the opposition.

Oshima pointed out it was Sengoku who was at the forefront of criticism when Ozawa floated the idea in talks with Yasuo Fukuda, who was then prime minister and LDP president.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, who heads New Komeito, described the idea of a grand coalition as being “like a chimera,” saying the DPJ has yet to fully digest the results of the election.

Meanwhile, Kenji Eda, secretary general of Your Party, which scored big gains in the election, said his party will proceed on a different path than the bigger DPJ and LDP.

“We will work on a ‘cross alliance’ — a majority that would be formed on a policy-by-policy basis — regardless of Mr. Sengoku’s remarks,” he said.

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