Japanese Party Scrambles to Keep Boss to Dodge Chaos

Opposition chief to quit amid deadlock mess
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2007 2:30 AM CST
Japan's main opposition Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa, left, shakes hands with Japan's new Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda following Fukuda's election as the new prime minister at the lower...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Members of Japan's opposition party are pleading with their leader to rethink his announced resignation, fearing the move will break up the party and hurt its chances at the polls. The head of the Democratic Party of Japan said he would resign yesterday after the party leadership resoundingly voted to reject a power-sharing alliance he had brokered with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Party officials worry it will be "quite difficult" to change Ichiro Ozawa's mind. The alliance was meant to break a deadlock. Japan's parliament hasn't passed a single bill since September when the Democratic Party won control of the upper house while the Liberal Party retained power in the lower house. Currently at issue is a bill extending an Indian Ocean refueling operation for American ships used in the Afghan war.