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Abe defies public outcry to step down


   Despite the historic defeat that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party suffered in the House of Councilors election held on July 29, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at a press conference on the following day refused to heed the public call to step down, saying, gI must continue to fulfill my responsibilities by producing results.h


   At the same time, pointing out that the public is calling for a radical change in the government, Abe announced his intention to reshuffle the cabinet and LDP executives before long.


   Concerning corruption scandals, one of the major problems that led the LDP to the electoral defeat, Abe admitted that a revision to the Political Funds Control Law, which the ruling block had forcibly enacted in the last Diet session under the name of dealing with the problem, was inappropriate by saying, gNow, I realize the public is not satisfied with the revision.h He announced his plan to establish bylaws within the LDP that will require stricter handling of political funds and bring it forward for legislation.


   Abe, however, stuck to his idea of revising the Constitution, saying that this issue was not sufficiently discussed in the election and gwe have to promote in-depth and wide-ranging discussion of it with the public.h


   JCP Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference on July 29 said, gI think Prime Minister Abe must step down. He must accept the election outcome. Mr. Abe said his policies concerning the Constitution, education, and the consumption tax will not change. However, I strongly urge the LDP to reflect on its policies and refrain from pushing them.h                       - Akahata, July 31, 2007



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