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Edano’s new liberal party to field more than 50 candidates in Lower House election

Kyodo

The new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, established as a refuge for the liberal wing of the collapsing main opposition party, said on Wednesday that it plans to field more than 50 candidates in the Oct. 22 Lower House election.

Akira Nagatsuma, a member of the recently dissolved Lower House, made the remark to reporters on behalf of the party. Led by Yukio Edano, formerly of the Democratic Party, the new party opposes the idea of revising the Constitution.

As the DP has split apart, many of its pro-amendment members have joined Kibo no To (Party of Hope) led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

Earlier, Nagatsuma and others told a news conference the CDP plans to field candidates in 16 of Tokyo’s 25 single-seat districts.

The party plans to put up well-known names like former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Banri Kaieda, both former leaders of the Democratic Party of Japan, the DP’s predecessor, in the Tokyo districts.

It has until next Tuesday, the start of official campaigning in the election, to finalize its candidate lineup.

Nagatsuma refrained from revealing whether the party will field candidates nationwide, saying, “It’s still hard to say anything definitive.”

By contrast, Kibo no To unveiled Tuesday an initial cohort of 192 candidates, including 110 hailing from the DP. It is said to have rejected some applicants from the DP who did not meet its principles especially in the field of constitutional revision and national security.

Separately Wednesday, DP Secretary-General Atsushi Oshima said he is leaving the disintegrating party. He will likely try to join the Party of Hope.

Oshima has served in the role for less than a month, having been appointed by DP leader Seiji Maehara on Sept. 5 after Maehara defeated Edano in the party’s leadership contest.

Last Thursday — the same day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the Lower House — Maehara effectively disbanded the DP by announcing that its members were free to run on the Kibo no To ticket if they wished to do so.

Maehara and several other senior DP members now plan to run as independents in the Lower House race.