• Compiled From Kyodo, Staff Report

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Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s political neck is not even worth considering as a condition to helping pass bills necessary to implement the fiscal 2011 budget, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara said Saturday.

With Kan being increasingly driven into a corner by the opposition’s offensive and internal strife in the Democratic Party of Japan, some in the DPJ are reportedly hoping that the opposition will help the budget bills through the Diet in exchange for Kan’s resignation.

That scenario would prevent the Lower House from being dissolved for a snap election. Holding an election now would be suicidal for the party, given the increasing voter skepticism about its ability to run the country.

But Ishihara, one of the top executives in the main opposition force, was quick to rule out such a scenario.

He told reporters in Osaka that Kan can only resolve the current Diet gridlock by dissolving the Lower House for a snap election.

Ishihara said the DPJ “would be making an unreasonable request if it asks the opposition camp to vote for the budget-related bills in exchange for Kan’s resignation while keeping its ineffective policy steps intact.”

The bills include legislation that would give the greenlight for issuing government bonds to help finance the budget, which the opposition claims contains wasteful spending.

“The DPJ’s responses to our questions during Diet discussion also make me wonder if the party is seriously listening to us,” Ishihara said, criticizing the DPJ’s internal power struggle between members close to Kan and those loyal to Ichiro Ozawa, who is facing trial over his political funding scandal.

Under fire on various fronts, the DPJ leadership could only apologize and make excuses during a meeting in Tokyo of the party’s prefectural chapter policy chiefs.

“I feel very bad that we’ve created such an unfavorable circumstance ahead of the elections,” DPJ Policy Research Committee Chairman Koichiro Genba, referring to the series of local elections across the nation in April.

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