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Opposition parties agree to cooperate in Diet elections to fight security laws

Five opposition parties have jointly submitted a bill to the House of Representatives to repeal controversial security legislation passed under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and agreed to cooperate in national elections for both houses.

    The partnership is between the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the Japan Innovation Party, the Social Democratic Party and the People's Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends. The five parties call the security laws unconstitutional and all of them opposed them when they went to vote in fall last year. Ahead of the House of Councillors election this summer, the parties plan to coordinate with citizens' groups opposed to the laws as they step up their opposition to the Abe government.

    At a meeting of party leaders in the Diet, DPJ leader Katsuya Okada pushed for four points, which the five parties agreed on. The four points were: repealing the security laws and retracting the Cabinet decision authorizing Japan's use of the right to collective self-defense; aiming for an overthrow of the Abe government; making the current ruling parties and their allies minority parties through national elections; and cooperating in activities at the Diet and in all aspects of national elections.

    It is the first time that the DPJ and the JCP have agreed to cooperate in national elections since the JCP began suggesting forming a united, opposition government in summer last year. JCP Chairman Kazuo Shii said, "In districts where only one representative is up for election in this upper house election we want to boldly respond (to the call for cooperation). We will put aside our call for an opposition government and cooperate." He indicated that the JCP will be receptive to requests to refrain from running their own candidates in districts where one representative is up for election, instead backing a common candidate from another opposition party.

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