The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito are very wary of moves to realign the opposition parties ahead of the upcoming House of Representatives election. While these parties had thought that disorganized fielding of candidates by the opposition would divide the votes critical of the administration, the situation has changed drastically after the new Kibo no To [Party of Hope] led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and the Democratic Party (DP) agreed to cooperate.
Senior officials of the two parties met in Tokyo on Sept. 27, where they agreed that the Party of Hope “should not be taken lightly” and that they will “strengthen their unity.”
The LDP had just suffered a crushing defeat in the hands of the regional party Tomin First [Tokyoites First] led by Koike in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in July. LDP Lower House members elected from Tokyo are saying that the upcoming election “will be a serious uphill battle,” according to Katsuei Hirawasa, who was elected from the 17th district of Tokyo.
Komeito Election Strategy Committee Chair Tetsuo Saito also stressed to reporters on Sept. 27: “This is a challenge to the LDP-Komeito administration. We would like to win a solid victory.”
At first, the ruling parties had reckoned that early Lower House dissolution would work in their favor, in light of the DP and the Japanese Communist Party failing to agree on common candidates. However, the DP and the Liberal Party have now agreed to join forces with the Party of Hope, triggering rapid moves toward uniting the opposition forces.