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Nippon Ishin to start hunt for July candidates

by Eric Johnston

Staff Writer

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) will start seeking candidates Saturday for this summer’s Upper House election and plans to announce the first round of selections at a party conference March 30.

Nippon Ishin and Your Party have agreed not to go head to head in the same districts, but despite continued overtures by Nippon Ishin, Your Party officials continue to oppose a merger.

Nippon Ishin Secretary General and Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui told reporters over the weekend the selection process for Upper House candidates will last about two weeks, until the end of February. Potential candidates will be interviewed about their political philosophy first, and then asked about their finances.

Other than the districts where Your Party plans to field candidates, Nippon Ishin plans a nationwide campaign, Matsui said.

In addition, Nippon Ishin and Your Party are against cooperating with the Democratic Party of Japan during the campaign. The DPJ suggested forming a united front to prevent the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition from increasing their current total of 102 seats to the 161 needed to form a two-thirds supermajority.

Citing policy differences, Your Party Secretary General Kenji Eda called a DPJ-Nippon Ishin-Your Party tieup a fantasy last week. Matsui and Hashimoto also expressed opposition to the idea.

Unlike December’s Lower House poll, Matsui and Nippon Ishin are not predicting how many seats they hope to win in July, since they had forecast a majority and landed only 54.