Japanese parties align to become largest opposition force

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 12:09am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 12:10am

Two Japanese political parties have decided to form an alliance in the Diet, becoming the largest opposition force in both the lower and upper house, their senior officials said on Sunday.

Secretary generals of the Party of Hope and the Democratic Party, Motohisa Furukawa and Teruhiko Mashiko, said the parties are set to solidify the formal agreement on Monday.

They said the parties reached a compromise on how to deal with the contentious security legislation, over which the two parties had remained apart.

Regarding the legislation that expands the Self-Defence Forces’ role overseas, the Party of Hope was in favour of promoting it, calling the policy “realistic”, while the Democratic Party said some portions of it are unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, a new party created before the lower house elections last October, will remain the largest independent opposition party in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party is the largest opposition force in the House of Councillors.

The Party of Hope was established by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and some lawmakers just before the campaigning started for the October election.

In the lead-up to the poll, many Democratic Party lawmakers defected to Koike’s party as momentum swung behind the new political organisation, but the Tokyo governor was criticised for the way she selected candidates, an issue many believed hurt her party’s performance at the polls.

In both chambers, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds the largest number of seats.