Three major non-Communist opposition forces agreed Tuesday to allow the Social Democratic Party, a former political ally of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, to join their talks on policy-related matters and Diet affairs.

Chairmen of the Diet affairs committees of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Party and the parliamentary group composed of Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party) and Kaikaku Club (Reformers’ Network Party) came to the agreement during a meeting, said Hajime Ishii, the committee chairman of the DPJ.

It remains to be seen whether New Party Sakigake, another former LDP ally, will also join, Ishii said.

The secretaries general of the three parties will meet this morning to discuss whether to jointly support DPJ leader Naoto Kan in a Diet vote Thursday to designate the next prime minister.

It is widely expected that newly elected LDP President Keizo Obuchi, currently foreign minister, will be installed as the next prime minister because of the LDP’s majority in the more powerful Lower House.

However, the opposition forces can cause humiliation for Obuchi in the 252-member Upper House, in which the LDP has only 106 seats, if they jointly vote for Kan, who enjoys high public popularity.

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