I wish to protest the description of the New Komeito Party as a "fringe organization" ("Japan: With reform crumbling, Obuchi may take a fall," International Outlook, Jan. 31). Our primarily centrist party was established in 1964 and has had many representatives elected to the Diet since 1968. We currently are the third-largest party, with 66 seats. We are particularly well regarded by the electorate for our commitment to social welfare. Komeito played an important role in resuming diplomatic relations with China.

Our party has upheld pacifism and freedom of religion. Moreover, our representatives have been uninvolved, for the most part, in the scandals that for decades have plagued other parties. While the adjectives "centrist" or "swing" or even "controversial" may appropriately describe New Komeito, "fringe" most certainly does not.

Otohiko Endo, Chairman

Public Relations Committee

New Komeito

Tokyo

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