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LDP faction head Ishiba calls for more active debate in party

Shigeru Ishiba is seen at a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party's Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision of the Constitution, on July 5, 2017. (Mainichi)

Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba on July 6 called for more active internal debate, raising the alarm over the lack of intraparty discussion under the predominance of LDP president and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"If you try to stay on the safe side by not raising your voice, we would all be in the same boat only to see Japan collapse," Ishiba said during a meeting of his party faction.

Commenting on the LDP's historic defeat in the July 2 Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, in which the party won a record low 23 seats, Ishiba said, "Voters developed an antipathy toward the LDP. They were sensitive to the party's attitude."

In reference to the 2009 metro assembly election, in which the LDP won 38 seats -- the second lowest behind the 2017 poll -- Ishiba said, "If we put the voter sentiment (in 2009) at 0 degree Celsius, it felt like the temperature plunged to somewhere around minus 20 this election."

"The question is whom we are turning to when we do our job. It's about whether we say what we should say when necessary," Ishiba said, suggesting that what he deems "a quiet LDP" is one source of voter alienation.

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