The New Komeito party, which will be formed next week through a merger of Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party) and Komei, will pursue “middle-of-the road” policies for the benefit of ordinary people, members say.A draft policy agenda and principles released Friday by a committee preparing for the new party says New Komeito will promote policies that emphasize peace, human rights, welfare and education.Most members of Shinto Heiwa and Komei belonged to the now-defunct Komeito, which was backed by Soka Gakkai, the nation’s largest lay Buddhist organization.The former Komeito was dissolved when the now-defunct Shinshinto was created by a merger of nine non-Communist opposition forces at the end of 1994. At that time, only Komeito’s Lower House members joined Shinshinto. Its Upper House and local assembly members formed Komei.While the newly merged party will again take the name Komeito, its English name will be preceded by the term “New.” New Komeito will become the second-largest opposition party in the Diet.Because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds far short of a majority in the Upper House, New Komeito is expected to play a key role in the ruling-opposition power balance in the chamber.
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