In the wake of the Liberal Democratic Party’s crushing setback in the July 12 Upper House elections, nearly half of the 52 LDP members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly decided to form a new parliamentary group, party sources said.

The LDP’s Tokyo chapter for the Diet tried in vain until Wednesday night to persuade the 21 dissenting members to stay with the original group. The bolting members will still retain their LDP memberships, so the party is now set to have two conflicting assembly groups under the LDP’s Tokyo chapter.

The bolting members, led by Yoshio Udagawa of Edogawa Ward and Norio Okuyama of Nerima Ward, consist mainly of veteran LDP members who have harshly criticized the former executive-board members of the local chapter.

Executive LDP assembly members backed two candidates in the Upper House elections, but their campaigns proved unsuccessful. The executive members, consisting mainly of junior politicians, recently resigned en masse to take responsibility for the failure, but a member close to them was elected as the new secretary general of the LDP’s Tokyo assembly grouping, upsetting veteran members.

The two groups, however, have virtually no differences in their policy platforms. The new group will be the fourth largest in the Tokyo assembly, after the original LDP group — now with 31 members — the Japanese Communist Party with 26 and Komei with 23.

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