At least two Shinshinto lawmakers will follow former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in leaving the largest opposition party.

Shinji Tarutoko and Kodo Kohata, Lower House members formerly of the defunct Japan New Party, said June 19 that they will soon leave Shinshinto. They made the remarks during a meeting of Hoyu-kai, a Shinshinto faction consisting of 19 former JNP members.

Some others, including Hiroshi Nakada and Ichiro Kamoshita, are considering following suit. The two are among a cell of junior lawmakers who have been vocally critical of party leader Ichiro Ozawa.

Hosokawa left Shinshinto on June 18 without advance warning, citing pessimism over the party’s future. Hosokawa founded the JNP, and helped form Shinshinto in December 1994. The new party was a merger of eight parties and one parliamentary group.

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