The Yomiuri Shimbun/The Japan NewsDemocratic Party Deputy President Yukio Edano on Monday announced the formation of a new party comprising the party’s leftist and liberal-minded lawmakers, a group opposed to the DP joining Kibo no To (Party of Hope) led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.
Edano, who will serve as the leader of the new party, announced the party name as Rikken Minshuto (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan) at a press conference on Monday.
“Many [DP] colleagues were told to run in the [Oct. 22 House of Representatives] election as nonaffiliated candidates or candidates of a different party. In these circumstances, I heard many saying they want to fight for what we’ve established together,” Edano said. “So I decided to form the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan to brush up the philosophy and policies we established at the Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party, so that we can respond to the opinions of citizens.”
Meanwhile, Kibo no To and the DP have entered the final stage of coordination ahead of announcing the first batch of candidates for single-seat constituencies for the election.
Former lower house Vice Speaker Hirotaka Akamatsu, DP Senior Deputy Secretary General Kiyomi Tsujimoto and Vice President Tomoko Abe are among the members expected to join the new party. House of Councillors members from a DP intraparty group led by Akamatsu are also expected to follow suit.
The 10 DP members expected to join the new Edano-led party include upper house lawmakers, as well as lower house members who lost their seats following the chamber’s recent dissolution. Banri Kaieda, who served as president of the Democratic Party of Japan, also intends to join the new party, according to sources.
Edano met with Rikio Kozu, president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) — the DP’s largest support organization — Monday morning in Tokyo. He is believed to have explained the creation of the new party to Kozu and sought understanding from the Rengo leader.
“I told him about the current situation and the direction I’m thinking of pursuing,” he told reporters after the meeting with Kozu.
Kibo no To had intended to announce its first round of endorsements comprising about 80 candidates from its own party as early as Monday evening, and eventually announce another 130 members who will join from the DP.
However, Kibo no To is likely to make the announcement Tuesday because of difficulties in coordination among the two parties.
If DP members included in the first round of endorsements ask for more detailed explanations from Kibo no To about its policy agreement, the announcement will likely be further delayed due to clerical work on the matter. New members are required to sign the agreement as a condition for receiving official recognition from Kibo no To.
According to multiple sources from Kibo no To and the DP, each party independently informed prospective members Sunday night and Monday morning that they had tentatively been included in Kibo no To’s first batch of candidates.
Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters Monday in Chiba that he will run as an independent candidate.
In addition to Masaru Wakasa from Tokyo Constituency No. 10 and Goshi Hosono from Shizuoka Constituency No. 5, former Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa from Tokyo Constituency No. 25, who submitted his resignation from Nippon Ishin no Kai, is also expected to be included in Kibo no To’s list of 80 candidates originally affiliated with the party.