INTRODUCTION: Leaders of the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LPD) in Japan have called for an urgent reform of the party at its annual convention in Tokyo.
INTRODUCTION: Leaders of the ruling Liberal-Democratic Party (LPD) in Japan have called for an urgent reform of the party at its annual convention in Tokyo. The convention, held in the capital on Wednesday (26 January), discussed the party's election setback in December -- when LDP lost its working majority in the lower house of parliament for the first time in 21 years. It was generally attributed to the effects of the U.S. Lockheed Aircraft scandal, and the rivalry between former Prime Minister, Mr. Takeo Miki, and his successor, Mr. Takeo Fukuda. Mr. Fukuda was elected was Japan's new Prime Minister later in the month.
SYNOPSIS: Addressing the gathering the Secretary General, Foreign Minister, Masayoshi Ohira, said that the LDP was now in a state of crisis and required an immediate and drastic reform. This was necessary to win the forthcoming Upper House elections in July, he said.
Mr. Takeo Fukuda, the Prime Minister said that after last months' election defeat the LDP has managed to retain its majority in the 511-seat Lower House only by recruiting independent members.
The party holds a razor-thin majority in the 252-seat Upper House of Parliament.
Mr. Fukuda, who is also the party present, called for revision of the LDP presidential election system to allow a bigger role for the rank and file membership. So far the LDP's presidents have been elected by the party parliamentary caucus. He also called for creation of a "free national league" to expand and strengthen the party organisation, and for dissolution of existing inter-party factions.