Former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno, who belongs to the group of former members of the defunct Japan Innovation Party (JIP) in the Democratic Party (DP), will form a new intraparty group called “Shinsei Club” on Feb. 1. This was revealed by an informed source on Jan. 24.
This development indicates the effective breakup of the group of ex-JIP members, the largest faction in the DP. It is reckoned that the Shinsei Club will consist of DP members critical of the party leadership.
Matsuno will chair Shinsei Club, while House of Representatives member Kenko Matsuki will serve as its secretary general. It is poised to register with the Tokyo election administration commission as a political organization. Like the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) factions, Shinsei Club will also prohibit its members from joining other political groups. It is expected to be joined by a dozen or so Diet members from the group of ex-JIP members who are close to Matsuno and Matsuki.
The name “Shinsei Club” is similar to the Shinseito [New Frontier Party] formed by current Liberal Party co-leader Ichiro Ozawa after he bolted the LDP. Since Matsuno and Matsuki are close to Ozawa, there is speculation that the new group may serve as Ozawa’s “partisan force.”
The ex-JIP members’ group in the DP had 26 members when the party was launched. The group suspended its activities after Matsuno and deputy leader Kenji Eda clashed during the DP presidential election last September.