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Democratic Party of Japan and Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party) on Friday officially agreed to merge into a new party, forming an alliance they hope will grow with the addition of other opposition parties as they gear up for the crucial Upper House election this summer.

The merger is aimed at helping the struggling DPJ — the biggest opposition party — get back on its feet and put an end to what it calls the “heavy-handed” leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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