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New liberal party head Edano aims to unite forces against LDP: interview

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano speaks to the Mainichi Shimbun in Tokyo on Oct. 5, 2017. (Mainichi)

Yukio Edano, who has defected from the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) and launched a new liberal-leaning political party, said he aims to form counterforces against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), during a recent Mainichi Shimbun interview.

Edano told the Mainichi that he launched the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) because he "believed Japan needed solid political forces that could advance grassroots democracy and economic revitalization." He slammed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's flagship economic policy mix "Abenomics," calling it a framework that "makes the rich even richer." He added, "I want to show that our position is clearly different (from the Abe administration) by presenting policy measures focusing on investments in people."

On the number of candidates that his party will endorse in the upcoming general election, Edano said the CDP aims to endorse around 50 people who "have secured backing by the DP but are now unable to or will not join the Party of Hope (headed by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike)" after the main opposition party announced its effective merger with Koike's party. He added, "We want to have (CDP) candidates run in all proportional representation blocs."

The former chief Cabinet secretary under the Democratic Party of Japan government said he told DP leader Seiji Maehara on Oct. 2 that he was leaving the party and launching a new one because the premise under which all DP members would join the Party of Hope promised at a general meeting of DP members from both houses of the Diet has been undermined. "I want to believe that Mr. Maehara did what he did for what he believed was good (for everyone)."

On the possibility of cooperating with Koike's party, Edano said, "We can work together on issues as long as they are related to toppling the Abe government."

Edano stressed that his party aspires to bring about a two-party system in which two major parties could compete for the reins of government, and is looking to bring anti-Abe government forces together. He continued, "I don't know what methods Mr. Maehara is contemplating (to unite the anti-Abe government forces), but I don't want to think that his idea of forming opposition forces that can counter the LDP has changed."

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