Trends in Japan

LDP Forms Single-Party Administration after Three-Year Hiatus

NOVEMBER 8, 1996

In the extraordinary session of the National Diet that convened on November 7, following the October 20 election for the House of Representatives, Ryutaro Hashimoto, president of the Liberal Democratic Party, won reelection as prime minister.

The voting for prime minister was conducted in plenary sessions of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. Hashimoto won a majority on the first ballot in both houses with the support of legislators belonging to the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake (Harbinger) in addition to his own LDP.

The prime minister immediately started putting together a new cabinet, which was inaugurated on the evening of the 7th. The SDP and Sakigake, which were represented in the previous administration as members of the ruling coalition, decided to remain outside the government this time, though they have entered into a policy agreement with the LDP. The prime minister therefore appointed a cabinet consisting entirely of Liberal Democrats; it is the first single-party LDP administration since August 1993.

Two key members of the new cabinet are reappointees: Minister for Foreign Affairs Yukihiko Ikeda, who will continue to handle such weighty diplomatic issues as the scaling down of the U.S. military bases on Okinawa, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama, who stays on as the principal spokesman for the cabinet. Former Foreign Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka has been named to succeed the SDP's Wataru Kubo as head of the powerful Ministry of Finance, where he will be responsible for the drive to reduce the massive fiscal deficit.

The full lineup of the second Hashimoto cabinet is as follows:(the names of the ministers are followed by their age, house membership, and major posts held to date.)

(The material herein is based on domestic Japanese news sources and is offered for reference purposes. It does not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government or of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)

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