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Opposition lawmaker Eda to exit Your Party

JIJI

A senior lawmaker of the Japanese opposition Your Party announced his intentions Sunday to create a new political party.

Kenji Eda, former secretary-general of Your Party, told reporters that he will tender his resignation as member of the party Monday.

Speaking to reporters separately, Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe said he has no plans to persuade Eda to stay on.

The relationship between the two has been souring for a long time, but their antagonism reached a point of no return over their handling of the controverial state secrets bill, which was railroaded through the Diet by the ruling coalition Friday.

Before the bill was enacted, Watanabe softened his stance and reached agreement with the ruling coalition over the bill’s amendments. But Eda remained firmly against the bill.

On Sunday, Watanabe said the party will accept Eda’s resignation, but added that it will consider more extreme options, such as publicly expelling Eda.

Eda, a member of the Diet’s House of Representatives, is a vocal critic of Watanabe.

Several other Your Party members who are critical of Watanabe are expected to follow Eda. More than 10 lawmakers are likely to leave the party, a source familiar with the situation said.

It is necessary to form a political party that will truly focus on serving the interests of Japanese people, Eda said in a speech at a meeting. Your Party has reached its limits, he said.

Eda expressed his strong desire to realign the country’s opposition camp to challenge the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Democracy will perish in Japan unless the country’s fragmented opposition unites and forms a political force strong enough to counter the LDP, Eda said.