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Japan`s Main Opposition Leader Resigns

Posted May. 12, 2009 03:17,   


The leader of Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party Ichiro Ozawa announced his resignation yesterday over a bribery scandal involving his secretary.

"To lay a new foundation for Japan and help parliamentary democracy take root, we must win the next election and shift power through party unity," he told a news conference. "I`ll do my best to strengthen internal party unity."

"We must select a new leader as soon as the deliberation of the supplementary budget by the lower house for this year ends," he added. "I`ll do my best to help shift the power at the front line."

As the ruling Liberal Democratic Party aims to pass this year’s supplementary budget at the lower house Wednesday, Ozawa`s successor will be elected this week.

He gave no clear answer on his successor, but emphasized party unity, saying, “The best way for all to come to an agreement on selecting a new leader, and even if we have to follow majority rule, we must all accept the outcome.”

With Ozawa’s resignation, Japanese politics is expected to undergo a major change with lower house elections set to be held before the end of its term in September.

Since he became Democratic Party leader in 2006, Ozawa maintained his position while the ruling Liberal Democratic Party changed its chief four times. As his party won a huge victory in upper house elections in 2007, he dreamed of a power shift but this was made impossible after his secretary was arrested in March on the charge of taking political bribes.