OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Major opposition party Osaka Ishin no Kai decided Tuesday to rename itself “Nippon Ishin no Kai” in a bid to gain wider voter support nationwide.
The party made the decision at an extraordinary convention in Osaka, after voter support for the party turned out sluggish in the July election for the House of Councillors in areas outside the Kansai region around Osaka.
By replacing “Osaka” with “Nippon” in its name, the party aims to boost its strength across the country ahead of the next election for the House of Representatives. Nippon means Japan.
In the triennial upper house election, Osaka Ishin saw its number of seats rise to 12 from seven held before the election.
But only three of 10 candidates fielded for the prefecture-based constituencies won their seats, in Osaka and Hyogo constituencies.
Following the weak showing, some party members called for changing the party name, claiming that the “Osaka” element of the party’s name was taken by voters to highlight its regional identity, sources familiar with the situation said.
Osaka Ishin no Kai, a national political party, was created in 2015 chiefly by Osaka-based lawmakers who were expelled from Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party), the successor to former Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party). The former party was created in 2012 based on Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional political party founded in 2010 by then Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto.
Meanwhile, Ishin no To was dissolved through the merger with the Democratic Party of Japan in March to establish the Democratic Party, the largest opposition party.