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Tachiagare Nippon (Sunrise Party of Japan) and Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party) have agreed to form a parliamentary group in the Upper House ahead of an extraordinary session slated to convene July 30, sources in the two small opposition parties said.

Neither party fared well in Sunday’s election, and the move is seen as being driven by their hope of retaining some say in the Diet with the possibility of future unification in mind.

Tachiagare Nippon, headed by Takeo Hiranuma, and Shinto Kaikaku, led by Yoichi Masuzoe, were launched before the Upper House election by defectors from the Liberal Democratic Party.

Each party won just one seat in the proportional representation section, leaving Tachiagare Nippon with three seats overall in the chamber. The party now has six lawmakers in the Upper and Lower houses combined, unchanged from before the election.

Shinto Kaikaku has been left with four fewer seats, with only two Upper House lawmakers.

If they form a parliamentary group, they will have five lawmakers in the Upper House, enough to be able to pose questions to the prime minister and other ministers when they deliver their policy speeches at the start of an ordinary Diet session.

SDP qualifies tieup

The Social Democratic Party said Thursday it will negotiate with Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) to form a parliamentary group in the Upper House, but not in the lower chamber.

Kokumin Shinto, a junior ally of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, proposed forming a group in both chambers of the Diet in an apparent bid to allow the passage of bills even if decisions are divided between the opposition-controlled Upper House and the DPJ-dominated Lower House.

But the SDP chose to form the group only in the House of Councilors because its cooperation with the ruling coalition in the Lower House would run counter to its earlier departure from the coalition in protest over the DPJ’s decision to relocate the U.S. Futenma base within Okinawa.

Koshiishi stays put

Ruling party heavyweight Azuma Koshiishi is expected to remain head of the Democratic Party of Japan’s caucus in the Upper House, sources said Thursday.

Koshiishi was a leading candidate as successor of Upper House President Satsuki Eda, but that appears unlikely since the ruling coalition lost its majority in the chamber in Sunday’s election, the sources said.

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