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Japan opp leader maintains hawkish to China
Updated: 2005-12-17 16:50

Japan's opposition leader Seiji Maehara has reiterated his long-held view that China may be a threat to Japan despite growing criticism of his hawkish stance.

"In macro-view, China doesn't have an intention to attack Japan," Maehara said. But he added that Japan must watch how the China-Taiwan issue could develop.

Japan's opposition leader Seiji Maehara (R), seen with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (L), has reiterated his long-held view that China may be a threat to Japan despite growing criticism of his hawkish stance. [AFP]
There was also a possibility that friction or even conflict could develop between the two countries over strategic interests in the East China Sea, the opposition leader said.  

The 43-year-old, nicknamed the "security geek" by his colleagues for his knowledge of national security and North Korea, also believes that Japan should stipulate its right to self-defense under its pacifist constitution.

He has sought to lift restrictions on the use of arms by the nation's troops during peacekeeping missions in other countries, including Iraq.

Maehara was speaking at the annual meeting of the Democratic Party of Japan at which the party pledged to seek a majority in the upper house in the 2007 race. At present it is far outnumbered by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Maehara stressed the need to present alternative policies to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling party.

"It's easy to criticize ruling parties," he said. "But it is critically important, if we are to take the rein of the government, to continue presenting what policies and measures we would implement for the issues we criticize."

Maehara calls for reforms in government and has attracted complaints within his party that his views are too similar to Koizumi's. Critics also say he is not necessarily speaking for his party in expressing concern at China's potential threat.

The Democratic Party of Japan also vowed to regain public confidence after a series of scandals involving its members.

Maehara took over as his leader after his predecessor resigned to take responsibility for the major loss to the LDP in the September general election.

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Japan opp leader maintains hawkish to China


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