Japan’s two largest opposition parties to merge

Japan parliament. Photo: Kyodo. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Aug 20, 2020, Kyodo. Members of Japan’s Democratic Party for the People on Wednesday agreed to disband and merge with the country’s largest opposition party to mount a united front against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition, The Mainichi reported.

At the party’s general assembly held in Tokyo, the majority of the DPFP lawmakers in the upper and lower houses voted to go ahead with the merger with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Most of the 62-member DPFP are expected to join the post-merger party, which is then expected to command the allegiance of more than 140 lawmakers including those currently belonging to independent groups.

DPFP leader Yuichiro Tamaki, however, reiterated after the assembly that he will not take part in the new party. He has said he will not join due to differing views with the CDPJ on policy issues.

CDPJ leader Yukio Edano, who will likely lead the new party, said last week he is aiming for the merger to take place in early September.

Even with the merger of the country’s two largest opposition camps, the party, whose name is expected to be chosen by a vote, would still fall far short of the number held by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and junior partner Komeito in both chambers.

But it would bolster efforts to turn up the heat on Abe over a resurgence of coronavirus infections and lingering allegations of cronyism.

The CDPJ currently has 89 lawmakers — 56 in the House of Representatives and 33 in the House of Councillors.

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