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CDP, Ishin reach accord to attack Kishida Cabinet while it’s down

The two largest opposition parties on Sept. 21 agreed to “fight together” on six issues in the extraordinary Diet session next month to put pressure on the now-weakened administration of Fumio Kishida.


The liberal-minded Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), a conservative force based in the Kansai region, reached the agreement ahead of the session scheduled to convene on Oct. 3.


The six items include helping victims of the shady donation-sales practices of the Unification Church and submitting a bill to amend the Diet Law to require the Cabinet to convene an extraordinary Diet session within 20 days of receiving a request to do so.


The two parties will also cooperate on revising the Public Offices Election Law to rectify vote-value disparities by adding 10 Lower House seats in certain election districts while removing 10 seats in other districts.


In addition, the parties will seek legislation to require lawmakers to disclose how they spend 1 million yen ($6,900) in a monthly allowance earmarked for transportation, communication and miscellaneous accommodation expenses.


The allowance, called “the second salary” of Diet members, underwent a name change earlier this year, but lawmakers are still not required to keep receipts or compile reports on how they are using the money.


Jun Azumi, chief of the Diet affairs committee of the main opposition CDP, and his counterpart in Ishin, Takashi Endo, agreed on the framework at a meeting in the Diet building.


“We would like to move Japanese politics forward by having the largest and the second-largest opposition parties working together to create a tense political environment,” Azumi told reporters after the meeting.


Endo told reporters: “(Opposition parties) were disunited, and people in the ruling party were gloating. That’s how we were until now. We would like to be united where possible.”


The two parties have quite different ideologies, and their approaches toward administrations led by the Liberal Democratic Party have also been in stark contrast with each other.


The CDP, which originated from the former Democratic Party of Japan, has built up its presence by directly confronting the government.


Ishin, whose slogan “Zeze hihi” means “What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong regardless of your position,” had pushed its policies by using party members’ personal connections with the governments led by Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga.


Political observers say the two parties are seeking to capitalize on the growing unpopularity of the Kishida Cabinet.


The prime minister has come under criticism for deciding to hold a state funeral for Abe and for failing to clarify the extent of the LDP’s ties with the Unification Church, now formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.


The CDP and Ishin did not cooperate in the Upper House election this past summer.


But after the LDP’s overwhelming victory in that election, CDP lawmakers increasingly believed that cooperation with Ishin was needed to keep the pressure on the Kishida government, the observers said.


Ishin lawmakers now believe that fighting together with the CDP on some policies would be beneficial because Ishin’s connections with the government have weakened, the observers said.


(This article was written by Shohei Sasagawa and Tomoya Takaki.)

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