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A new political study group consisting of members from three opposition parties was formed July 17 with the aim of countering a possible conservative alliance centering around the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The 19 lawmakers, from Shinshinto, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Taiyo Party, met in Tokyo and agreed to name their group Kaikaku Kaigi (Reform Council). The members include former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, who quit Shinshinto and created the Taiyo Party last December, joint DPJ founders Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan, as well as Megumu Sato, a veteran Shinshinto member who has served as justice minister and posts and telecommunications minister. The group includes nine other Shinshinto lawmakers.

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