Ex-LDP heavyweights launch new political party in Japan

14:30, April 11, 2010      

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Former Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano and former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma in alliance with three other lawmakers announced the launch of their new political party on Saturday to counter ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

The new party, officially named "Tachiagare Nippon" in Japanese, or Sunrise Party of Japan (SPJ) in English, will be headed by Hiranuma, 70, who left the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2005 and has since been an independent.

Saturday's new party launch came after Yosano, 71, and others defected from the main opposition LDP believing the current leadership lacks the impact to affect change and has floundered since last year's defeat by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ended a monopoly over government, almost unbroken since the 1950s.

One reason for the recent spat of LDP defections is the apparent discontent over President Sadakazu Tanigaki's leadership skills.

"He's a good man, honest, gentle, brainy -- but what he says does not have an impact and does not cause damage," Yosano said in a TV interview recently.

The other founding SPJ members are former LDP Acting Secretary- General Hiroyuki Sonoda, 68, former transport minister Takao Fujii, 67, and former Cabinet Office Senior Vice Minister Yoshio Nakagawa, 72. Fujii and Nakagawa themselves are upper house members.

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