Japan's Opposition Leaders Discuss Possible Merger

Japan's opposition leaders discuss possible merger

The leader of Japan's Constitutional Democratic Party has called on two other opposition parties to join his party in a bid to grow big enough to win victory over the ruling bloc.

Yukio Edano, president of Japan's largest opposition party, met the President of the Democratic Party for the People, Yuichiro Tamaki, and Leader of the Social Democratic Party, Seiji Mataichi, on Friday. Former prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and other opposition politicians also attended the meeting.

They discussed a possible merger of their parties to compete with the ruling bloc. The three opposition parties united their parliamentary groups before the current Diet session began in October.

Edano said that the united front has resulted in the resignations of two Cabinet ministers in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration. He said the opposition front has also succeeded in forcing the government to postpone the introduction of questionable private-sector English tests as part of standardized national tests for university admissions. He added that the opposition force has shed light on the allegedly-shady state-funded cherry-blossom viewing events hosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Edano urged the participants to merge with his party to form a strong opposition bloc that can beat the ruling bloc. He proposed talks on a possible merger of the opposition parties.

Tamaki said his party is aligned in the same direction in terms of forming a large cluster. He requested a merger on an equal footing, such as in discussing the name of the new party.

SDP leader Mataichi said that he takes the proposal seriously and wants to discuss it with other members of his party.

The three leaders agreed the secretaries general of their parties will proceed with concrete discussions on the matter.

Diet members of the three parties and independents who belong to the united opposition front are 181 in total -- 120 in the Lower House and 61 in the Upper House.

The main ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party, has 396 members in both chambers.