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September 9, 2009

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Japan poll victors resume talks

JAPAN'S new ruling party, fresh from last week's landslide electoral victory, resumed stalled talks with two smaller parties yesterday aimed at creating a coalition government.

The Democratic Party of Japan approached the People's New Party and the Social Democratic Party in hopes of building a government and talks would continue tomorrow, a ruling party official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing party policy.

While the Democratic Party of Japan won an overwhelming majority in the powerful lower house of parliament in the August 30 election, it needs the cooperation of the two smaller parties because it still lacks a simple majority in the upper house.

An official of the People's New Party said the three parties aimed to reach an agreement "as early as possible."

The leader of the victorious party, Yukio Hatoyama, who is expected to be selected as Japan's next prime minister in a party vote on September 16, said he was optimistic about progress in the three-party talks.

"We will reach an agreement. I am always optimistic," Hatoyama told TV reporters early yesterday.

The three parties initially aimed to reach a deal last week, but they have not yet agreed on foreign policy issues, such as whether to end Japan's refueling operations in the Indian Ocean in support of United States troops in Afghanistan.

Hatoyama said on Monday he would unveil his Cabinet lineup when a ruling coalition had been created. Speculation on his Cabinet picks has intensified, however Katsuya Okada is expected to get the nod for foreign minister.


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