Ex-minister Watanabe starts new political party

Kyodo News

Former Cabinet minister Yoshimi Watanabe said Saturday that he has launched a new political party called Your Party with three other former members of the Lower House and a current member of the Upper House.

Minna no To, which literally means “party for everyone,” will field 13 candidates in the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election and endorse two new independent candidates.

Kenji Eda, one of the former Lower House members who joined Watanabe, told a news conference it is unlikely Your Party will work with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party after the election.

“We are eyeing cooperation with the Democratic Party of Japan,” he said.

Watanabe, who was in charge of administrative reform, left the LDP in January after becoming disenchanted with Prime Minister Taro Aso’s policies, saying they were out of step with people’s needs. Watanabe also questioned Aso’s leadership and the pace of reforms to the national civil servant system.

The other members of Your Party include House of Councilors member Keiichiro Asao, who was expelled from the DPJ last month after announcing he would run for a district seat in Kanagawa during the upcoming election.