The Democratic Party of Japan and its two smaller allies agreed Wednesday to launch a tripartite coalition government next week.
The deal was concluded in a party chief meeting attended by DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama and his Social Democratic Party (SDP) and People's New Party (PNP) counterparts Mizuho Fukushima and Shizuka Kamei.
The coalition government, which will be the first to be led by a party other than the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the past 16 years, is scheduled to be launched following Hatoyama's election to the premiership at a special parliamentary session on Sept. 16.
With the agreement of a tripartite coalition officially formalized, SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima and PNP chief Shizuka Kamei are expected to join the cabinet headed by Hatoyama.
Earlier in the day, executives of the three parties agreed in principle to form a tripartite coalition.
During their talks, the three sides concurred in the most disputed issue concerning the US military presence in Japan, agreeing to present to the United States a review of the planned realignment of the US forces in Japan and an amendment to the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement.
The concurrence came after DPJ's talks with the SDP and the PNP failed Tuesday due to their differences over the "so-called Okinawa issue", which refers to the relocation of US military facilities in the southernmost Japanese prefecture.
In Tuesday's talks, the DPJ made clear its stance on the issue, pledging to "resolve the problems lying between the two countries, including how to deal with the (US) bases."
But the leftist SDP, which upholds Japan's war-renouncing Constitution, demanded that the envisaged coalition administration reexamine the planned redeployment of the facilities of the US Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, to lighten the heavy US military presence there.
On Aug. 30, the DPJ seized 308 of 480 seats in the historic lower house election, putting an end to more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted rule by the LDP.
A handsome victory as it was, cooperation with the two allies is needed for the DPJ to control the less powerful upper house to ensure smooth legislation.
(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2009)