Two opposition parties in Japan have decided to merge. Their leaders have called for others to follow suit.
Members of major opposition group, the Democratic Party For the People spent nearly seven hours in closed-door talks until early on Friday, before deciding to merge with the Liberal Party.
Participants say that while many lawmakers supported the merger call by party leader, Yuichiro Tamaki, some said it should have been delayed.
Tamaki reportedly said the aim is to clarify its difference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration, and to break the political status quo.
Tamaki later met with the head of the Liberal Party, Ichiro Ozawa, to sign an agreement document.
It says the combined party will continue the name and the general policies of the Democratic Party For the People, and that they will call for more lawmakers and parties to join the move.
Tamaki told reporters that he wants to make the history of division among the opposition camp a period of unity and integration, as Japan enters the Reiwa era.
Ozawa said he hopes that Yukio Edano, the head of the Constitutional Democratic Party, will call on all the opposition parties to unite.