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Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has decided to retire from politics instead of running in the Oct. 31 House of Representatives election, sources said Thursday.

Kawamura, 78, currently represents Yamaguchi Prefecture’s No. 3 constituency.

Tensions had been rising among LDP lawmakers ahead of the poll for the Diet’s Lower House, as the party was struggling to select its official candidate for the constituency.

Former education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, 60, who currently sits in the House of Councilors, the upper chamber, has sought the party’s endorsement to represent the constituency in the House of Representatives.

In order to prevent a split in conservative votes, LDP Secretary-General Akira Amari met with Kawamura on Wednesday and asked him to forgo running in the upcoming Lower House vote.

Kawamura told the LDP leadership team that he plans to accept Amari’s request, according to the sources.

A former member of the Yamaguchi prefectural assembly, Kawamura was first elected to the Lower House in the 1990 election from a constituency in Yamaguchi.

Kawamura has been elected to the Lower House 10 times, and has served in important posts such as chief cabinet secretary and education minister.

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