Japanese PM Believes Coalition with SDP to Be Maintained despite Being at Odds over Futemma Issue
    2010-05-26 12:15:15     Xinhua      Web Editor: Liu Donghui
 
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Wednesday he believes the ruling tripartite coalition government will be maintained, despite Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Mizuho Fukushima, saying a departure from the Democratic Party of Japan-led (DPJ) bloc is possible over the government's plan to move a U.S. Marine base within Okinawa Prefecture.

"I will continue consultations," the prime minister told reporters, referring to a discord in the coalition over the SDP's leader's vocal opposition to the idea of moving the U.S. Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station within Okinawa.

"I think the coalition government will be maintained steadily," said Hatoyama whose tripartite government is also comprised of the People's New Party.

Some SDP members have endorsed the idea of leaving the DPJ if Hatoyama goes ahead with plans to relocate the Futemma base within Okinawa -- one such member is Kantoku Teruya, a native of Okinawa Prefecture.

However it was chief Mizuho Fukushima's visit to Japan's southernmost prefecture on Tuesday to hold talks with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima that is causing the premier a great deal of consternation and has also riled the opposition Liberal Democratic Party.

During talks with Nakaima, Fukushima pledged her support for pressing the administration not to relocate the base to the Henoko coast in Nago, Okinawa.

Opposition parties have criticized the development within the Cabinet, with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) demanding Fukushima's swift resignation.

LDP Secretary General Tadamori Oshima said Tuesday if Fukushima is at odds with the administration's policies, then she should resign.

Fukushima has indicated she will not sign any official Cabinet documents stating her party's support for the base's relocation plan.

This will leave the prime minister with no choice but to forge ahead with the plan by way of a prime minister's statement rather than the full clout of the Cabinet's consent.

The lack of unity among the ruling coalition party will be of concern to the DPJ ahead of this summer's upper house elections at which the DPJ-bloc will need to show a united front, if they are to avoid a policy stalemate.

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