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Democratic Party of Japan

DPJ to hold talks with New Komeito on policies

Democratic Party of Japan 40%

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The Democratic Party of Japan and opposition party New Komeito will hold discussions on a supplementary budget for this fiscal year and other policy matters, a step toward a "partial coalition" in the divided Diet, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Komeito plans to enter policy talks with the intention of approving the supplementary budget to be compiled by the DPJ-led government, although it also likely will push to have some of its own policies included.

The DPJ hopes forging a coalition with Komeito on a policy-by-policy basis will help smooth passage of bills through the Diet as opposition parties control the House of Councillors.

Success or failure of their bid for a partial coalition will affect Prime Minister Naoto Kan's steering of the government, observers say.

The parties' secretaries general and Diet Affairs Committee chairmen likely will attend the policy talks.

Komeito has compiled a 4 trillion yen stimulus package and proposed it to the government. However, the prevailing view within Komeito is that there will be "no alternative but to approve" the supplementary budget.

Kan this week directed DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada to sound out opposition parties about their willingness to help compile the supplementary budget.

Komeito executives discussed a DPJ proposal on policy talks and agreed to enter talks with the ruling party.

Komeito has a record of approving government supplementary budgets after holding policy talks.

A year before joining the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party and Liberal Party in 1999, Komeito proposed during talks with the LDP that regional commodity coupons be issued to help boost regional economies. The LDP complied, and Komeito approved the third supplementary budget for fiscal 1998.

Komeito hopes holding policy talks with the DPJ will give its supporters a tangible sign that the party's policies are being implemented ahead of unified local elections set for next spring.

However, whispers of a potential tie-up with the DPJ have angered many members of Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist organization that is Komeito's power base. Komeito approved a government-proposed bill on child-rearing allowances in March, only to earn the ire of many of its supporters. Given this, policy talks between the DPJ and Komeito could be bumpy.

LDP Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara has scotched sugge. tions his party should hold negotiations with the DPJ on the supplementary budget before it is submitted to the Diet.



Sep. 30, 2010

Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun


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