The Party of Hope decided at an executive meeting on April 4 to start discussions with the Democratic Party (DP) on forming a new party. It will hold a meeting of its members in both houses of the Diet to heed their opinion before entering into party leaders’ talks with the DP. While the goal of this move is to unite an opposition force capable of competing with the ruling bloc, concerns remain that the party may split up.
Party leader Yuichiro Tamaki stated at the meeting: “I would like to form a major opposition force, and I remain determined to form an open-minded reformist conservative party.” Tamaki envisions merging with the DP to form a political party with several dozens of members in both houses of the Diet.
However, it is uncertain if Tamaki’s plan to assemble an opposition force comparable to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan can be realized.
Certain party members, such as Shigefumi Matsuzawa, head of the party’s House of Councillors caucus who is a founding member, have asked to divide up the party. Upper House members Kyoko Nakayama and Kuniko Koda and House of Representatives members Nariaki Nakayama and Kazunori Inoue are expected to join Matsuzawa, so the Party of Hope is certain to break up. The executive meeting also decided to start concrete discussions on the issue of dividing the party from April 5.
Meanwhile, policy research committee chair Akihisa Nagashima voiced his opposition to dividing the party and merger with the DP. Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, head of the party’s constitution committee, also indicated on April 3 that he will not join the new party. Conservative founding members of the party who are close to Hosono may also follow his lead.