Initiatives from Osaka, a minor opposition party, has increased the number of its members in the latest House of Councillors election to 12, which meets the legal requirement for a political party to submit a bill to the Diet (more than 11 members in the Upper House). By submitting its own bills in succession, the small opposition party is determined to promote itself as “a reform party.”
From the start, the party plans to submit a bill revising the Political Funds Control Law to an extraordinary session of the Diet, convening in the fall. In light of the issue of “politics and money” involving former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, the party intends to stipulate in the bill that “personal expenses must not be paid out of political funds” and set up a third-party organization, which would check whether expenses are for personal or political activities.
As part of “self-sacrificing reform,” one of its campaign pledges for the Upper House race, the party is making progress in preparing to submit a bill that would cut the annual pay for Diet members by 30%.
The party also aims to gain support across the nation by removing the word “Osaka” from the party name at a party convention in August. It is now considering a new name for the party, the Japan Innovation Party, which was used by former party leader Toru Hashimoto, who concurrently served as the mayor of Osaka City.
However, questions are being raised as to what extent the party can earn more attention, as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito hold a majority in both Diet houses. Such opposition parties as the Democratic Party (DP) and Japanese Communist Party (JCP) are reacting coolly to moves by Initiatives from Osaka, with one lawmaker saying, “As Initiatives from Osaka is neither a ruling party nor an opposition party, it will eventually be pushed into the background, behind other political parties.”