The opposition Party of Hope leadership is set to launch talks next week on splitting the party in a bid to merge with the opposition Democratic Party (DP) to form a new force.
The move is aimed at breaking with founding member Shigefumi Matsuzawa, who heads the party's House of Councillors caucus, and those close to him to pave the way for establishing a new party with the DP.
At an executive board meeting on March 30, Hope Secretary-General Motohisa Furukawa proposed to begin talks on splitting the party. Matsuzawa, who has demanded that Hope be broken up, asked the leadership to "go ahead with consultations amicably."
The executive board approved the proposal, although Akihisa Nagashima, Hope's chief policymaker, voiced opposition to the move. After the meeting, Matsuzawa told reporters that he hopes to take over the Party of Hope.
If a party is split into multiple parties, government subsidies that the original party was entitled to are divided and allocated to the new organizations in proportion to the number of legislators belonging to them.
Meanwhile, a general meeting of DP members of both houses of the Diet on March 30 approved a proposal by leader Kohei Otsuka to seek to form a new party, though without identifying a partner. The DP leadership is exploring the possibility of forming a new party with the Party of Hope, while some members are seeking to join hands with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party in the House of Representatives.
To prevent a potential policy confrontation within the party, the DP declared that it will encourage mainly former DP legislators to join hands in forming a new party.