Former Democratic Party (DP) leader Katsuya Okada has decided not to join the new party called “people’s democratic party” to be formed by his party and the Party of Hope after the Golden Week holidays in May. A majority of the 14 members of his group in the House of Representatives, the “Group of Independents” consisting mostly of lawmakers affiliated with the DP, are expected to follow his lead. It now appears that the new party will not be able to become the top opposition party.
Okada held a meeting with some 10 DP-affiliated Diet members close to him at the Diet on April 24. They are expected to serve notice on their resignation from the DP as soon as April 27.
Meanwhile, Party of Hope’s policy chief Akihisa Nagashima also informed party leader Yuichiro Tamaki of his decision not to join the new party on April 25. He is joining a splinter party breaking from the Party of Hope led by House of Councillors member Shigefumi Matsuzawa.
Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, former Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Nariaki Nakayama, and Kazunori Inoue are also not joining the new party. It is reckoned that the number of Party of Hope members joining the new “people’s democratic party” will be around 40.
If a majority of the Okada’s group is also not participating, it will be difficult for the new party to overtake the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) with 56 members as the top opposition party.
The Party of Hope and the DP are holding general meetings of their Diet members on April 26 to make a formal decision on forming the “people’s democratic party” after the holidays. (Slightly abridged)