Japan's former minister to launch party to campaign in election
Yoshimi Watanabe, Japan's former Minister Financial Services and Administrative Reform, speaks during the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Kuala Lumpur June 15, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Japan's former Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi Watanabe, who served under Shinzo Abe for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), announced that he will form his own party to compete in the Aug. 30 national elections, Kyodo News reported on Wednesday.
The party, tentatively named Minnanoto (party for everybody) will hold a news conference on Aug. 8 to outline its platform, according to the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper. Watanabe is a strong opponent of "amakudari" - a system in which senior bureaucrats are given senior posts in the private sector after retiring.
The party is expected to criticize the LDP for colluding with bureaucrats and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) for being too close to the unions.
Political parties in Japan need to enlist five or more Diet members in order to qualify for political donations and other benefits during elections. Kyodo reports that the party will have at least that many members.
Japan's elections are expected to be the most closely fought in more than a generation, with the DPJ riding high in polls and the LDP suffering low approval rates under the leadership of Prime Minister Taro Aso. Earlier this year, a number of LDP members attempted to oust Aso from the party leadership as it moved from crisis to crisis, and some of those politicians are expected to join the new party, according to Kyodo.
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