Japan’s opposition parties to merge ahead of upper house poll

Tokyo, Feb 23 (IANS) Two Japanese major opposition parties on Tuesday said they were merging to form a new party ahead of the upper house election this summer in a move to better challenge the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest opposition party here, and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) announced their plan to form a new party, Xinhau reported.

According to the plan, the new party will be established in late March at the earliest.

The JIP will be dissolved and merged into the DPJ, which will maintain its factions, but the name of the “Democratic Party of Japan” will be changed, according to the JIP’s merge proposal, although veteran DPJ lawmakers insisted on retaining the DPJ’s name.

DPJ executives approved the integration plan during a meeting on Tuesday and the JIP leader Yorihisa Matsuno also introduced the plan to his party.

The two parties will discuss the issue when they each hold intra-party talks on Wednesday so as to gain support within their parties respectively.

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