TOKYO -- Newly elected Japanese leader Morihiro Hosokawa held talks Saturday with leaders from the seven parties that voted him into power the day before as the first non Liberal Democratic Party prime minister in 38 years.
'My actual impression is that a chapter of history has been turned not a mere page,' said the 55-year-old Hosokawa Saturday after his election. 'One age, one role and one destiny have come to an end.'
A descendant of a family of samurai warlords who has vowed to fight corruption bedeviling Japanese politics Hosokawa pledged, 'I will create an administration that focusses more on the public than on the concerns of Nagatcho (the area housing the adminstration).'
Leader of the 14-month old Japan New Party, Hosokawa is a former prefecture governor and journalist with connections into Japan's establishment in government, business, sports and entertainment. He once starred as a samurai warlord in a television series.
Hosokawa has named only one member of his cabinet, Masayoshi Takemura, his ally and leader of Sakigake (the Pioneers), to take the high profile post of Chief Cabinet Secretary, acting as the main government spokesman.
Takemura like Hosokawa is an LDP defector, who only left the party six weeks ago, and a former prefecture governor.
He has said he will name the Cabinet Monday.
On their second try, lawmakers in the lower house of parliament Friday elected Hosokawa breaking a grip on power held in Japan by the LDP from 1995, the year the party was formed.
Hosokawa was only voted in by the House of Representative s in the Diet, Japan's parliament, after a second ballot, following an unprecede nted uproar over the voting for a new premier.
After a vote for him was taken the first time, the minority LDP challenged the voting procedure and gained a ruling from the newly elected speaker Takako Doi calling for a second vote.
LDP members shouted that about 10 of their members' votes had not been counted and some of them rushed down to the speaker's podium protesting.
Doi declared the initial vote invalid due to the mistake, adjourning the sitting for three hours.
Because of the mistake the upper House of Councillors, which normally proceeds after the lower house, nominated Hosokawa premier, unaware that his chance of achieving leadership of Japan had been temporarily thwarted.
When the revote was taken, Hosokawa garnered 262 votes to the 224 for his LDP opponent former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, 15 for Japan Communist Party leader Tetsuzo Fuwa and 2 for Social Democratic Party chairman Sadao Yamahana.
Immediately after the second vote, parliament adjourned. The new prime minister did not make a speech, rejecting a demand made by LDP before he was elected.
'With numerous international and domestic problems before us, I hope he will meet public expectations and do a full-blown job of political management,' said the 56-year-old Kono after his defeat, calling on Hosokawa to make a policy speech soon.
Resisting a takeover by the coalition every inch of the way, the LDP backed down Friday to break a stalemate and it agreed to elect the next prime minister and speaker in parliament after two days of intense squabbling.
Sharp disagreements induced by LDP delaying tactics had erupted Thursday over a choice of new speaker to oversee debate in the House of Representatives, and the groups were forced to resume two rounds of talks Friday.NEWLN: more