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Ex-PM Hosokawa slams Koike for being 'impertinent' about candidate selection

Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa speaks to the Mainichi Shimbun in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Oct. 2, 2017. (Mainichi)

Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa slammed Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike over her move to "eliminate" some members of the embattled largest opposition Democratic Party (DP) from the list of DP legislators to run in the upcoming general election on her party's tickets, calling her tactics "impertinent."

Hosokawa, who has been Koike's political mentor since he established the now defunct Japan New Party to which the Tokyo governor belonged, spoke to the Mainichi Shimbun in an interview on Oct. 2 on the recent political turmoil ahead of a House of Representatives election slated for this month.

On the new party Kibo no To (party of hope) launched by Koike, Hosokawa said, "I thought (the Kibo party) was starting a movement to topple the government (of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe), but it's become chaotic. Even if it doesn't achieve a change of government, I hope that the party at least hands the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a crushing defeat and blocks Prime Minister Abe from serving as LDP president for a third straight term."

On Koike's decision to eliminate liberal forces and former prime ministers within the DP from being endorsed by her party in the upcoming election, Hosokawa said he was "disturbed" that Koike was waging "the rationale of elimination."

"The tactics she is taking, making DP members take a loyalty test (based on their stance on issues including security-related laws and constitutional amendment), is impertinent. It betrays her image as a 'tolerant conservative.'"

On DP leader Seiji Maehara, who also debuted in the political world as a Japan New Party member, the former prime minister said, "He said he was sacrificing (party) name for substance, but by looking at the current situation, it makes me worry that he could get the name, substance and his soul taken away."

Hosokawa reflected on the time when he formed the Japan New Party and offered candid advice to Koike, saying, "When you tackle taking the reins of government, you have to go on the offensive like raging waters, otherwise you won't succeed." He also requested Koike to be "a person of high caliber" if she aims to become prime minister and not attach too much importance on who is conservative or liberal.

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