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LDP lawmaker quits TPP panel after hinting he would steamroll vote

Teru Fukui of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) resigned as a director of a House of Representatives special committee on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on Sept. 29 after suggesting that he would try to steamroll TPP bills through the Diet. He made the suggestion during a meeting of an intraparty faction led by LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai.

    Fukui said at the meeting that he would try to fulfill the wishes of Koya Nishikawa, who previously chaired the special committee, to win parliamentary passage of the TPP legislation through a steamroll vote. The LDP judged that his remarks would adversely affect Diet deliberations on the TPP, leading to Fukui's resignation.

    Fukui told reporters, ''It's my wish to see the legislation ratified during the current session of the Diet. I am really sorry for causing a misunderstanding.'' He conveyed his intention to step down as a director to Wataru Takeshita, chairman of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee, who approved of his resignation.

    During the past regular session of the Diet, the opposition camp protested confidential information in a book about to be published by Nishikawa. Diet deliberations on the TPP were carried over to the ongoing extraordinary session, but Nishikawa was replaced as chairman of the special committee.

    Renho, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, blasted Fukui's statement at her news conference, saying, ''It shows the ruling party's arrogance.''

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