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The new political party Minseito was officially formed Friday through the integration of three center-right opposition parties, most of whose members once belonged to the now-defunct Shinshinto.Former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, 62, leader of the new party, said during the inaugural conference at a Tokyo hotel that Minseito is determined to work as a core to unite opposition forces to effectively counter the powerful Liberal Democratic Party.”We should firmly unite ourselves for a common purpose, that is, promoting real political reform to establish a new political trend,” Hata told participants of the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of other non-Communist opposition forces.However, it remains to be seen whether Hata’s desire for a larger opposition party will come true in the near future because non-Communist opposition forces are varied from center-left to center-right. Minseito literally means democratic politics party, but its official English name is Good Governance Party. It consists of members of Kokumin no Koe (Voice of the People) led by Michihiko Kano, the Taiyo Party led by Hata, and From Five, led by former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.The party has 39 legislators: 30 in the Lower House and nine in the Upper House. Most were once members of the LDP and have antagonistic feelings toward Ichiro Ozawa, former head of Shinshinto and now head of the Liberal Party. Minseito is the third largest opposition force in the Diet following the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Party.Kano, 55, assumed the post of Minseito secretary general. Lower House lawmaker Katsuya Okada, 44, is the new party’s policy chief. During the inaugural conference, DPJ leader Naoto Kan, who appeared as one of the guests, called for further cooperation between the opposition forces.

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