About five mid-ranking and junior Diet members are thinking of leaving the Democratic Party (DP), a source close to the party revealed on Sept. 9. Most of them are close to former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who bolted the DP in August. They may submit their resignations this week. It is believed that the lawmakers are eyeing cooperation with Hosono, House of Representatives member Masaru Wakasa, who is a close confidant of Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, and others.
The potential defectors are all Lower House members who have served fewer than five terms. Three mid-ranking and junior members of the group Hosono once led in the DP are joined by another two junior lawmakers. They are all against election cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party in the next Lower House election. It is possible that more Diet members may join the defectors.
According to the above DP source, these Diet members are expected to make a decision on resignation from the party this week after weighing the pros and cons. However, there apparently is also the opinion that they should wait until the three Lower House by-elections on Oct. 22.
DP President Seiji Maehara just assumed his post on Sept. 1, and it will come as a serious blow to him if more members bolt the party after Lower House member Shiori Yamao resigned over reports of an extramarital affair. More departures will also impact the three Lower House by-elections so the party leadership is trying to persuade the lawmakers to remain in the party.