BANGKOK -- Exiled former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra acknowledges having advised Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, his younger sister, on forming her Cabinet.
Thaksin told The Asahi Shimbun by telephone Aug. 13 that although Yingluck and her aides made the final decisions on their own, he offered suggestions.
Thaksin was found guilty of corruption charges and sentenced to a two-year prison term in 2008. His involvement in the process of selecting Yingluck's Cabinet team has been vehemently opposed by anti-Thaksin groups.
The former prime minister said that since many pro-Thaksin group members have had their civil rights suspended, forming a Cabinet from among the limited group members has been a tough job.
Yingluck Shinawatra was named as the nation's first female prime minister on Aug. 8.
Thaksin said that because he was asked to give advice on this matter, he provided information on some Cabinet nominees and would offer further suggestions if asked to do so again.
Emphasizing the importance of reconciling pro- and anti- Thaksin groups, he said all political groups now need to cooperate. He asked his supporters not to make any radical moves.
Asked whether he intends to return home at some point, Thaksin referred to his self-imposed exile and said that wherever he stays he considers his home. During the July general election in Thailand, he said he wanted to return home by the end of this year. The comment drew strong opposition from anti-Thaksin groups.
Thaksin, who is expected to be granted a special entry permit by Tokyo to visit Japan, said he will visit the country on Aug. 22. During his one-week stay, Thaksin is planning to give lectures on economic cooperation between Japan and Thailand and visit disaster-affected Miyagi Prefecture.
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