Tokyo, Sep 7 (IANS) Two candidates began their campaigns on Monday as the leadership race for Japan’s new main opposition party, which will be formed by merging two existing parties, officially kicked-off.
Leader the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), Yukio Edano, 56, is facing off against Kenta Izumi, 46, the policy chief of the Democratic Party for the People (DPP), reports Xinhua news agency.
Voting to choose the leader of the new party, which will be formed by the merger of the CDPJ and the DPP, will take place on Thursday ahead of the merger slated for September 15.
The merger, along with a number of independent politicians joining will see 149 lawmakers comprising the new party, which is pitching itself as a party that can mount a united front against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition.
“I will look squarely at people’s lives and bring tension back to politics by becoming an option for people to vote into power,” Edano told a press briefing as he launched his campaign.
He registered the name of his current party as the name for the new party.
Edano has the backing of members of the CDPJ, as well as Ichiro Ozawa, a highly-influential veteran lawmaker belonging to the DPP.
Izumi, for his part, said he wants to “reach out as much as possible to create a leading opposition that can live up to the expectations of the people”.
He wants the new main opposition party’s name to be changed to the Democratic Party of Japan, the name of the now-defunct party that was in power between 2009 and 2012.
The two prospective leaders are expected in the days ahead to set out their campaign platforms.
The platforms will likely be built around issues such as the next general election, the possibility of removing or reducing consumption tax to stimulate spending, as well as methods of responding to the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the two candidates said.