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Interview with former PM Hosokawa on Tokyo Gov. Koike

  • September 10, 2017
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who headed a non-Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government launched in 1993, spoke with Kyodo News on Sept. 9. He revealed that he has urged Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to present a vision for the nation, including her views on the Constitution, measures against depopulation, and measures to deal with the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear power plant accident, in light of her ally’s plan to set up a new political party. Hosokawa also revealed that at one point he considered backing the LDP’s Seiko Noda, currently Internal Affairs Minister, to lead “Koike’s new party.” Clearly showing his opposition to the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Hosokawa also called for Democratic Party (DP) President Seiji Maehara to promote a united opposition front.


Koike launched her political career by successfully running for the Upper House as a candidate backed by the Japan New Party, which was founded by Hosokawa in 1992. Hosokawa used to be Koike’s political adviser. He has met with Koike several times since she was elected the first female governor of Japan’s capital last year. Recently, Hosokawa told Koike, “Your political reach will be expanded if you clearly state your vision for the nation.” But he kept the plan to back Noda for party representative to himself and did not tell Koike about it, though the idea came to nothing when Noda joined the Abe cabinet in August.


In the interview, Hosokawa predicted that Koike will serve a full term through 2020. As for the plan by Lower House member Masaru Wakasa, Koike’s close ally, to create a new national political party, Hosokawa said, “I still can’t even see how the party differs from the DP.” Regarding backing Noda to lead the new party, Hosokawa said, “If Koike is ready to venture into the national political arena, Wakasa will not be the party leader.”


Hosokawa also gave his views on political realignment. “It’s better to have a moderate multiparty system in which some parties cooperate than to have a two-party system created as a result of simply attracting large numbers. It’s unwise to only think about making political parties bigger,” he said. Hosokawa’s non-LDP government was a coalition of eight parties.


As for newly elected DP leader Maehara, Hosokawa said, “He needs to fight in elections and the Diet by teaming up with whichever party is open to the idea, without concluding that ‘it is not good [to cooperate with] the JCP.’” Hosokawa went on to say: “It’s the height of stupidity to allow the LDP to profit from the defeats of the opposition parties” in the three Lower House by-elections coming up in October.


Regarding the prime minister’s push for constitutional amendment, Hosokawa said, “A constitutional revision meant solely for the prime minister’s legacy amid stalled public debate is unacceptable. I strongly oppose [amending the Constitution].”

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