Three conservative opposition parties decided Wednesday that they will launch a new party on Jan. 23 with former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata at the helm.All of the members of Kokumin no Koe (Voice of the People), the Taiyo Party and From Five gathered at a Tokyo hotel to finalize basic policies, basic platform, party rules and a declaration for forming the new party.They will push for various reforms, including a 20 percent reduction in the number of Diet seats and a move to lower the voting age to 18. They vowed to make efforts to eventually create a two-party political system in which shifts in power would happen more frequently.The three leaders — Kokumin no Koe’s Michihiko Kano, Taiyo Party’s Hata and From Five’s Morihiro Hosokawa — were members of Shinshinto, which was the largest opposition party until its dissolution last month.The name of the new party will be decided in a few days, the parties said. The six-point policies range from political and administrative reforms to security issues.Concerning security issues, the new party places importance on enhancing good relations with the U.S. It will also recognize the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty as the country’s main pillar of security. To better facilitate implementation of the treaty, the party will call for active discussions between the two countries on such issues as U.S. military bases in Japan and the role of the Self-Defense Forces.Recognizing the important tasks being undertaken by the United Nations, it promotes active participation in U.N. peacekeeping and peace-restoring activities. Such activities, however, would be limited because the party says it will respect Article 9 of the Constitution which bans use of military force to resolve international conflicts.On revitalizing the country, the party will call for eliminating economic regulations so that the market may operate more freely. To stabilize financial markets, the party will ask for the introduction of public funds on condition that the management of failed financial institutions takes responsibility for the collapses, and that full disclosure is conducted.

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