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Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima came under pressure from within the party Thursday to step down and take responsibility for the SDP’s setback in the Upper House election on July 11.

Adding to Fukushima’s woes is the recent announcement by the party’s key lawmaker, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, that she intends to leave the SDP as a show of protest over the leadership. In its executive meetings Thursday, the party decided to try and persuade Tsujimoto to stay on.

The meetings were held as the party assesses the result of the July 11 House of Councilors election, in which the SDP saw the number of its seats in the chamber cut from five to four, including uncontested seats.

It is thought that Fukushima intends to remain in her post. However, her deputy, Seiji Mataichi, said during the meetings that party executives, himself included, should resign.

Kantoku Teruya, the party’s Diet affairs chief, told reporters after the meetings that he had urged Fukushima and other leaders to step down to take responsibility for the situation.

Fukushima said at one of the meetings: “We need to discuss how we sum up the election and revitalize the party. We must overcome this crisis with (cooperation) from all party members and supporters.”

The SDP is expected to finalize its review of the election at the end of August, when it will hold a meeting of regional chapter heads.

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