Analysis of Komei Party's about-turn in support of Koizumi

The May 13 issue of the Sunday Akahata reported the about-turn of the Komei Party toward supporting Koizumi Jun'ichiro as the coalition leader. The party previously showed antipathy toward him and even hinted at walking out of the coalition.

The Akahata report said that the Komei Party's decision to coalesce with Koizumi to remain in power is based on the instruction of Ikeda Daisaku, honorary president of Soka Gakkai, parent religious organization of the Komei Party.

Before the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election on May 3, the Komei Party blatantly supported Hashimoto Ryutaro, the leader of the largest LDP faction Keiseikai. This is because the Komei Party was politically indebted to former Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei, founder of the largest LDP faction, helping the Komei Party out of the trouble over its obstruction of the publication of a book critical of the party.

A former aide to Tanaka described the close ties between Tanaka and the Komei Party in her book as follows: "Mr. Ikeda Daisaku at the time said he would gladly disband the Komei Party if Mr. Tanaka wants it so."

As an opposition party the Komei Party was apparently critical of the LDP. Backstage, it helped LDP Tanaka faction candidates in elections.

Such a party has now made a turn-about to support Koizumi, who is known for his criticism of Keiseikai and of coalescing with the Komei Party. The explanation concocted by Komei Party leader Kanzaki Takenori was that the party, "respects the coalition government because it has been established in the interests of the nation and the people."

According to Otsukotsu Masao, a critic on religion, the real motive of the turn-about should be found in Ikeda's statement. Soka Gakkai's Seikyou Shinbun dated March 22, 1999 carried a poem by Ikeda which called on their "being a victor on May 3, 2001 without fail." This is Ikeda's instruction that the Komei Party should form a coalition government with any LDP president.

In fact, on April 25, the day the Komei Party decided to continue with the coalition government, Ikeda said, "With a great victory we can see May 3, 2001." (end)