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DPJ leadership resigns over fake e-mail

Democratic Party of Japan President Maehara Seiji on March 31 announced that he will resign from the post to take responsibility for the debacle caused by a fabricated e-mail message.

DPJ lawmaker Nagata Hisayasu took up the bogus e-mail message in the House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on February 16 as "evidence" that Horie Takafumi, former Livedoor president, ordered the remittance of 30 million yen to a son of Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Takebe Tsutomu.

Announcing his resignation at the DPJ Dietmembers' general assembly on March 31, Maehara apologized and said, "I accept full responsibility for disappointing DPJ supporters and the general public." Maehara's resignation was followed by a resignation of all members of the DPJ leadership. New DPJ leaders will be elected by all DPJ members of the Diet on April 7.

Replacing former leader Okada Katsuya, who stepped down before completing his tenure as DPJ president, Maehara was to fulfill the remaining term till September 2006. Maehara is the 4th DPJ president in a row to resign the post during tenure. The DPJ will elect a third president for the two-year term since September 2004.

The DPJ e-mail fiasco took place when Diet discussions on the budget were focusing on the Koizumi Cabinet's adverse effects on the public, such as increasing poverty and widening the social gap, the falsified anti-quake strength of buildings, and the Livedoor affair. Due to the e-mail fiasco, the DPJ lost momentum in its 'inquiries' into these issues.

Maehara as DPJ president has advocated constitutional revision and called for paragraph 2 of Article 9 banning the possession of war potential to be deleted. He has also insisted that Japan should be allowed to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

Concerning domestic policies, Maehara took on the Koizumi government in a "reform" competition by presenting "alternatives," but most of them were in the same direction as the LDP. In his sixth month as DPJ president he was forced to resign.
- Akahata, April 1, 2006

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