Japan's Liberal-Democratic Party led by Premier Takeo Fukuda appears to have retained its majority in Sunday's upper House (House of Councillors ) elections.
PREMIER FUKUDA PAINTING EYE OF "HARUMA" DOLL: GV EXTERIOR LDP HEADQUARTERS: MR FUKUDA ENTERS CONFERENCE ROOM: MR FUKUDA ADDRESSING NEWSMEN: CUTAWAYS NEWSMEN LISTEN
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Background: Japan's Liberal-Democratic Party led by Premier Takeo Fukuda appears to have retained its majority in Sunday's upper House (House of Councillors ) elections. On Monday night, enough results were already in to enable Mr Fukuda to perform the traditional victory ceremony of painting in the eye of a "daruma" doll. He was accompanied at the LDP Headquarters by jubilant supporters, including Mr Masayoshi Ohira, the Secretary-General of the Party.
By Tuesday (12th July) morning, the full results had all been tabulated, and early in the afternoon Mr Fukuda gave a news conference at the LDP headquarters. Asked about the factionalism which at one time had threatened to split the party, Mr Fukuda admitted that some traces of this still remained. However, he had toured 35 prefectures all over the country, and seen more than 600,000 people, that the majority of the people supported the general lines of his policies. He was determined, therefore, to eliminate any remaining traces of factionalism within the LDP in the near future; and certainly before the next occasion for selecting a new LDP President.
He reminded newsmen that Japan had a difficult course to steer. It was a country with very few resources; and there were numerous pressing financial and economic problems which needed solving rapidly. Unity, he said, would be essential for their proper solution.
Although the LDP failed to hold all 65 of its seats that were up for election, it is considered by observers that the enlistment of a number of independent conservative Members would enable the party to hold on to its slim majority. The main opposition party, the Japan Socialist Party, fared far worse. Its leader, Mr Tomomi Narita, is expected to accept the responsibility for his party's clear defeat and to resign shortly.