Several Cabinet ministers questioned on Friday the planned merger between the two main opposition parties, with one likening it to the sudden breakup of a now-defunct opposition party in 1997.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi said the merger between the Democratic Party of Japan and the smaller Liberal Party reminds him of the December 1997 dissolution of Shinshinto, which was also headed by Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa.

“I have the impression that the abrupt breakup (of a party) is being repeated, but since things are being worked out, I wish them luck,” said Sakaguchi, who is a senior member of New Komeito.

Many current members of New Komeito were a part of Shinshinto before its breakup.

Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama predicted difficulties for the two opposition parties, such as choosing candidates for a House of Representatives general election.

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