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Against expectations and despite fundamental policy differences, Osaka Mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) head Toru Hashimoto and former Tokyo Gov. and Taiyo no To (The Sunshine Party) leader Shintaro Ishihara merged their parties Saturday, creating a third force in Japanese politics.

The tieup, announced at a news conference in the city of Osaka by Hashimoto, Ishihara and Ichiro Matsui, Nippon Ishin no Kai’s secretary general and governor of Osaka, establishes a new party with a basically conservative and probusiness policy platform.

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