As a last resort to have his favorite postal reform drive accepted, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi decided to call a fresh general election, a move which could risk the ruling position of his divided party.
Koizumi regarded as his centerpiece privatizing the national postal services with up to 270,000 employees. His ambition has encountered strong resistance from not only the opposition parties, but also the ruling Liberal Democratic Party he leads.
Vowing to eradicate faction struggle within the half-century- old ruling party from the moment he became party leader four years ago, Koizumi has successfully pushed through a set of his reform projects with hard-line attitude. And this time, he could not tolerate exception.
However, his decision to hold a general election would risk the ruling of the LDP in Japan as the party is deeply divided this time.
In the voting on the bills on Monday, 22 LDP upper house lawmakers rejected the bills and eight abstained, well exceeding the 18 threshold needed to scrap the bills.
The result occurred despite Koizumi has repeatedly warned that he will dismiss the lower house and call an election.
After the defeat, Koizumi's said the LDP will not endorse in the general election the 37 members who voted against the bills in lower house and upper house.
The LDP members against Koizumi threatened to they could form a new party or run for parliament seats as independent candidates.
In 1993, the split resulted in the LDP's first loss of governance, though shortly, after the World War II. And the LDP has since been ruling Japan in alliance with other parties.
The New Komeito, which has been the LDP's ally, may not necessarily stand firmly with it in the election. Its secretary general indicated in July that the party might cooperate with other parties.
The LDP alone has a majority in the lower house, but not in the upper house.
Analysts said that Koizumi would intend to exert his personal image to help his party to secure a majority in the general election expected on Sept. 11. However, recent Japanese media surveys have showed that his support rates were drifting at about 40 percent.
On the other hand, the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan has been gaining on in political influence, raising predictions that there could be a two-party system in Japan in a few years.
Following the dissolution of the lower house, DPJ leader Katsuya Okada called on party members to fight gallantly for the formation of a single-party regime by the DPJ.