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Party of Hope to field “assassins” against Constitutional Democratic Party candidates

The primary list of candidates on the ticket of the Party of Hope is evidence of the party’s confrontational stance against the newly established Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ). On the other hand, the Party of Hope has fielded almost no rival candidates in single constituencies where former Lower House members of the Democratic Party have announced they are running as independents. This indicates that the Party of Hope is drawing a clear distinction in how it deals with CDPJ candidates and independents.

 

Almost 50 candidates have already announced their intention to join the new CDPJ, including previous and former Lower House members, as well as newcomers. The Party of Hope will put up rival candidates against half of the CDPJ’s candidates. This includes former DP Secretary General Yuikio Edano (Saitama District No. 5), former Prime Minister Naoto Kan (Tokyo District No. 18), and former Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu (Aichi District No. 5).

 

At a press conference to announce the candidates on the ticket of the Party of Hope, Goshi Hosono explained that the former DP members who joined the Party of Hope significantly differed from those who joined the CDPJ over security policies while they had been DP members. Hosono said, “It is hard to fight against former fellow members, but the differences between us involve principles and fundamentals, so we will fight against them fairly.” Koichiro Gemba was also present at the press conference and said, “The DP was a bit too left-leaning to take power.”

 

The most symbolic “assassin” fielded by the Party of Hope is the candidate pitted against former health minister Akira Nagatsuma (Tokyo District No.7). The Party of Hope’s Masaru Wakasa, a former Lower House member, originally proposed to Gemba that candidates should be fielded in all Tokyo electoral districts except Nagatsuma’s District No.7, expecting to have Nagatsuma join the Party of Hope later. However, Nagatsuma’s decision to join the CDPJ completely changed the plan. Now the Party of Hope has decided to field a former Kumamoto prefectural assembly member as Nagatsuma’s rival candidate, although he was originally set to be fielded in Kumamoto District No. 2.

 

“Our newly launched party has to throw itself into the upcoming election even though I am concerned even about my own election,” said Edano on Oct. 3 during a stump speech he delivered in Tokyo. “Each party has made its own decision,” Edano told the press after the speech. “If I can win in my single-seat constituency, there should be no problem.”

 

The Party of Hope, however, responded amenably to former DP members who decided to run in the election as independents. The party decided not to field rival candidates in their constituencies. This includes former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (Chiba District No. 4), former DP President Katsuya Okada (Mie District No.3) and former Finance Minister Jun Azumi (Miyagi District No. 5). “We will decide on our stance by taking all of the election circumstances into consideration,” said Wakasa at a press conference. The Party of Hope apparently plans to avoid going up against experienced candidates with a firm electoral base, expecting to have them join the Party of Hope after the election.

 

“I was hoping all of the DP members would join the Party of Hope together,” said DP President Seiji Maehara at the party headquarters on Oct. 3. “But an election is a battle, so I will make every effort to enable the Party of Hope and all the independents who will eventually join the party to win this election.”

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