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Aiming at increasing their presence within the Liberal Democratic Party-Liberal Party coalition, some 60 members of the two parties jointly established a new study group Thursday.

The group, named Kibo-Nippon (Hopeful Japan), is headed by Taro Aso, an LDP Lower House member and former Economic Planning Agency chief. It will meet once a month to discuss issues such as national security, the declining birth rate and administrative and educational reforms.

According to its prospectus, the group respects the LDP-Liberal Party policy accord that the leaders of both parties signed in November. The group is being established to strengthen the unity between the two parties in order to realize those policies, the prospectus says.

The group will also try to bring about cooperation between the two parties in future elections.

Takeo Hiranuma, an LDP politician and former Transport Minister, and Keisuke Nakanishi, a former Defense Agency chief who belongs to the Liberal Party, will be the deputy leaders of the group.

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