A total of 156 Diet members from the non-Communist opposition forces met Thursday in Tokyo and formed a new study group that hopes to better unite the opposition parties against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The group, headed by Tatsuo Ozawa, leader of the Reform Club and a former health and welfare minister, aims to set the stage for forming a new government to replace the administration of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Ozawa said.

During the meeting, held in a hotel, former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu assumed the post of an adviser of the group, and former Education Minister Kunio Hatoyama became the secretary general.

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