• Kyodo News


Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori submitted a letter of resignation Thursday to his Liberal Democratic Party faction, citing his displeasure with colleague Shinzo Abe, a former prime minister, sources said.

Mori, 73, and Abe belong to the faction led by former Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura.

Mori took exception with Abe’s support for former Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone in August’s election to pick the leader of the LDP caucus in the House of Councilors, instead of contender Shuzen Tanigawa from their faction.

The sources quoted Mori as telling the day’s meeting of senior faction members: “It is beyond expression how much toil I had to endure during the years when I buttressed three successive prime ministers, Junichiro Koizumi, Abe and Yasuo Fukuda. I don’t want any further involvement” with Abe.

Abe supported Nakasone in the Aug. 11 race, in defiance of the faction’s decision to back Tanigawa, former secretary general of the caucus. Nakasone pledged to try to bring in young blood to the LDP leadership and enhance the LDP’s say in the Upper House, now controlled by the opposition camp, effectively the LDP, after the July 11 election.

Although Tanigawa, 76, secured the backing of Mori, Machimura and many other LDP heavyweights, the election ended in a draw, with Nakasone and Tanigawa both winning 40 votes from a total of 82 Upper House LDP lawmakers. Nakasone was eventually elected as the new chairman of the caucus by lottery, in accordance with LDP rules.

Responding to Mori’s submission of the resignation letter, Machimura is now trying hard to persuade Mori to rethink his decision, the sources said.

Mori was prime minister between April 2000 and April 2001. He was followed by Koizumi, Abe and Fukuda.

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