(Mainichi: July 21, 2105 – p. 5)
Three groups in the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) held a meeting on the evening of July 20 at a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. About 20 DPJ lawmakers belong to the three groups. The participants agreed that the three groups will strengthen their solidarity with a merger in the future in mind. The three DPJ groups are thinking about forming an opposition party that could replace the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The three groups are headed by Policy Research Committee Chairman Goshi Hosono, former deputy Defense Minister Akihisa Nagashima, and former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi. The groups supported Hosono in the January party leadership election although he was defeated by President Katsuya Okada. They have steered clear of liberal forces in the party.
After the meeting, Takeshi Shina, secretary general of the Hosono group, told reporters: “Amid the decline in public support ratings for the ruling parties, we have reached a consensus that it is necessary to formulate a set of proposals countering the government-drafted security-related bills in order to meet the expectations of the public. In a bid to strengthen their ties, the three groups have agreed to hold regular study sessions to exchange views on the state and other issues.
Some participants called for conveying messages to the public on the political realignment of the three groups. However, there are views expressing concern about a stance of going up against the party leadership. The groups have decided to call on the leadership to draw up counterproposals. (Slightly abridged)