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2 Japan opposition parties agree to merge ahead of upper house poll

Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki, standing in the center, speaks at the outset of a gathering of party legislators from both houses of the Diet, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on April 25, 2019. (Mainichi/Shinnosuke Kyan)

TOKYO -- The leaders of the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) and the Liberal Party (LP) agreed to merge the two opposition parties ahead of the House of Councillors election, now just months away.

DPFP leader Yuichiro Tamaki and LP co-head Ichiro Ozawa reached a formal agreement on the merger during an April 26 meeting at DPFP headquarters. The meeting followed a general assembly of DPFP members of both houses of the Diet held at the party headquarters in the predawn hours of April 26, where a majority of attendees agreed on the LP merger..

At a joint press conference following the formal accord, Tamaki underlined the significance of the amalgamation, saying, "We would like to turn the history of division and dispersion in the opposition camp into a new era of integration and assembly." Ozawa echoed Tamaki's idea, and suggested that he would report the decision to his party and begin procedures for the merger.

The DPFP general assembly was delayed to the wee hours of April 26 due to time-consuming discussions among the party's Diet legislators the night before on a plan to field a joint opposition candidate in the Iwate constituency in the upper house race. There is only one seat up for grabs in the constituency.

(Japanese original by Shuhei Endo, Political News Department)

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