With the hint of a Lower House dissolution and snap election in the air, the formation of new parties is heating up as the new homes for lawmakers defecting from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
The latest addition to the party list comes out of Nagoya, where Mayor Takashi Kawamura has established the regional party known as Genzei Nippon (Tax cuts Japan).
On Aug. 17, Kawamura held a news conference in Tokyo and indicated his intention to form a new national party with disenchanted DPJ lawmakers.
The push comes as Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is speeding up moves to turn his Osaka Ishin no Kai regional party into a broader-based one.
At his news conference, Kawamura expressed confidence in forming a new party with a nationwide organization. He was accompanied by Toshiaki Koizumi and Koki Kobayashi, two DPJ Lower House members who recently submitted their resignations to the party. Yuko Sato of the Aichi No. 1 district, which encompasses part of Nagoya, has already indicated her intention to join the new party. While the three will submit a report to the Diet as early as Aug. 21 indicating they were forming a new grouping, they are still two shy of the number needed to become a full-fledged party allowed to run candidates concurrently in both the single-seat districts and proportional representation constituency of the Lower House election.
The decision was made to proceed with forming a new party even though the required five members had not been obtained because the judgment was made that a Lower House election was fast approaching.
After Kawamura returned from an overseas business trip on Aug. 14, he immediately began speeding up the pace for forming a new party.
"We wanted to form a new party before Osaka Ishin no Kai," an aide to Kawamura said.
One member of Genzei Nippon said, "By forming a party quickly, we can provide a new home to those Diet members who do not join Osaka Ishin no Kai."
With DPJ members in both the Lower and Upper houses voting against the party line on legislation to raise the consumption tax rate, Kawamura felt now was the perfect opportunity to publicize his group's emphasis on tax cuts in order to gain new members.
In a document he distributed on Aug. 17, Kawamura said the main proposals his new party would push would be scrapping the consumption tax hike legislation, moving from a dependence on nuclear energy as well as halving the salaries of Diet members and reducing the number of Lower House seats by 80.
At the same time, everything is not positive for Kawamura. The friendly relationship he had with Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura appears to be over as Omura has said he was forming a new political group called Chukyo Ishin no Kai. Chukyo is a name used to describe the greater Nagoya area.
Having himself once been a member of the DPJ, Kawamura is hoping that more lawmakers will follow in the footsteps of Koizumi and Kobayashi.
At the Aug. 17 news conference, Kobayashi said, "While I tried to do my best within the DPJ, it has been totally unable to respond to the expectations of the public."
Having started his political career with the Liberal Democratic Party, Kobayashi will be joining his fifth party with the formation of a new one by Genzei Nippon.
With Kobayashi having served five terms and Koizumi three, their defection from the DPJ means that not only rookie lawmakers are concerned about their political prospects with the DPJ.
With those two, a total of 82 lawmakers have left the DPJ or resigned since it took control of the government in September 2009. Early defectors have formed new parties of their own, so those remaining in the DPJ have alternatives to choose from if they are fed up with the ruling party.
One DPJ lawmaker from the Tokai region was asked by Kawamura to join Genzei Nippon in July. The lawmaker is prepared to bolt the DPJ if Noda is re-elected as party president in September.
"It is likely a rational decision made to improve their chance of winning re-election," one DPJ executive said about such moves by lawmakers to join the new party.
- « Prev
- Next »