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Leader proposes plan to disband opposition Democratic Party

TOKYO — The leader of Japan’s struggling Democratic Party proposed Tuesday disbanding the opposition party and forming a new one, after it split in the run-up to the Oct. 22 lower house election, party lawmakers said.


With multiple lawmakers planning to join the exodus away from the party before the 2019 House of Councillors election, Kohei Otsuka presented the proposals at a party meeting.


Other plans provided by Otsuka, who was picked as party president at the end of October, include merging with other forces and changing the current name, according to the lawmakers.


The plans will be presented to a party executive meeting for discussion on Wednesday, the lawmakers added.


The Democratic Party is struggling to regain the public trust following its predecessor Democratic Party of Japan’s short stint between 2009 and 2012 as a ruling party.


Former leader Seiji Maehara effectively dissolved the party so that all of its House of Representatives members could run as candidates for Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s Party of Hope in the October general election. But many of them failed to secure their seats, prompting Maehara to step down.


Democratic Party members who did not join the Party of Hope, now headed by Yuichiro Tamaki, formed the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which became the leading opposition force in the lower house, or ran as independents.

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