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Govt’s slow virus response prompts Nippon Ishin to join united opposition front

Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) is focusing on keeping in step with other opposition parties in responding to the new coronavirus. Such a move is unusual as the party usually takes a pro-government/ruling bloc posture.

 

At the end of last month, Ishin joined hands with a joint parliamentary group of opposition parties, which includes the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) and the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) to submit to the Lower House a bill to support companies facing difficulty paying the rent for their business facilities. After the bill was submitted, Ishin’s Lower House member Yasushi Adachi said, “We decided to cooperate because the government and the ruling bloc are too slow in taking action.”

 

Ishin’s decision to form a united front with other opposition parties was driven by the fact that the party is based in Osaka and very much reflects the locality. Party leader Ichiro Matsui is the mayor of Osaka City, and deputy leader Hirofumi Yoshimura is the governor of Osaka Prefecture. A senior party official comments with frustration, “Regional governments are actively mapping out anti-coronavirus measures, but the central government has been very slow to respond.”

 

Ishin has kept a distance from the CDPJ and other opposition parties, which grill the government over the cherry blossom viewing party hosted by the prime minister and the scandal involving the Moritomo Gakuen educational institution. In discussions on constitutional amendment as well, Ishin has taken a different stance from other opposition parties by showing a positive attitude toward constitutional revision along with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and others. A senior CDPJ official is watching Ishin’s move with suspicion, saying, “Their cooperation with us may be temporary.”

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