Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Main opposition Democratic Party approved on Thursday a proposal by its leader, Seiji Maehara, to unite with a new political party led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike to prepare for a general election next month.
The merger is intended to bring together forces outside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party in an effort to oust the LDP.
Maehara’s proposal for the DP’s merger with Kibo no To (Party of Hope) got approval at a joint meeting of DP lawmakers in both chambers of the Diet.
“We must stop the Abe government by resorting to any means,” Maehara told the meeting.
“I want to seek support for my decision to sacrifice fame for the sake of profit,” he said. “My proposal is to end the self-indulgent Abe government and create an ideal society for us.”
The proposal calls for canceling the DP’s unofficial endorsement for candidates in the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election.
The proposal also said that DP members planning to run in the election will apply for candidate endorsement from Kibo no To, and that the DP will not field its own candidates.
Most DP members planning to run in the election are expected to seek to join Kibo no To, sources familiar with the situation said.
Mito Kakizawa, a lower house member in the DP, submitted a letter of resignation from the party on Thursday. He told reporters that he intends to join Kibo no To.
In a meeting with Maehara on Tuesday night, Koike refused to accept all DP members.
Koike plans to sort out DP members willing to run in the election on the Kibo no To ticket, based on their stances on the Constitution, national security and other issues, the sources said.
At a meeting of DP executives earlier on Thursday, many participants expressed their opposition to Maehara’s merger proposal before it was eventually endorsed.