Yukio Hatoyama, coleader of the Democratic Party of Japan, said June 23 that he will seek cooperation with former prime ministers Morihiro Hosokawa and Tsutomu Hata toward forming a liberal force to counter a possible conservative alliance between the Liberal Democratic Party and Shinshinto.
Hosokawa left Shinshinto on June 18, citing pessimism over the future of the largest opposition party, which is led by Ichiro Ozawa. Hata left Shinshinto in late December and formed the Taiyo Party with 12 colleagues. “I would like to meet with Mr. Hosokawa and Mr. Hata this week or next week to talk about the issue,” Hatoyama said. “Mr. Ozawa seems to be seeking a way to form a huge conservative force with the LDP, which I think would go counter to current reform efforts,” he told a regular news conference.
Hatoyama and Naoto Kan, the other DPJ coleader, have welcomed Hosokawa’s revolt against Ozawa as a potential move that might lead to the eventual collapse of Shinshinto. The DPJ, established last fall, is currently the third-largest Diet force after the LDP and Shinshinto.
The DPJ leaders hope that the breakup of Shinshinto will promote a political realignment to form two large political forces — a liberal one centering around the DPJ and a conservative one with the LDP as its core. After Hosokawa left Shinshinto, one junior lawmaker followed suit last week. Some others, mainly former members of the now-defunct Japan New Party founded by Hosokawa in 1992, are expected to soon leave Shinshinto to join them.