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Japan opposition leader offers to resign - media

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, Nov 4 (Reuters) Japan's main opposition leader offered to resign today, just days after his party turned down an offer from the prime minister to join a new coalition and end a deadlock in parliament, Kyodo news agency reported.

Kyodo said Democratic Party executives were trying to persuade Ichiro Ozawa not step down from the top party post, a move that analysts said could prompt the party to unravel just months after it won a huge victory in an election for parliament's upper house.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda sounded out Ozawa on Friday about forming a new ruling coalition, but the offer was quickly rejected by Democratic Party executives.

Some media reports said that a grand ruling coalition was first suggested by Ozawa but he failed to win the backing of his party.

''Ozawa will resign as party leader, that is clear. The question is whether he will leave the party, and whether he can take people with him, and how many,'' said Yasunori Sone, a political science professor at Keio University.

Analysts have long said the Democratic Party -- an often fractious amalgam of former LDP members, ex-Socialists and hawkish younger lawmakers -- was at risk of breaking up.

REUTERS SYU HS1206

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