The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party for the People are unlikely to conclude their merger negotiations by the end of the year, senior DPP officials have suggested.

The two major opposition parties “have yet to reach consensus on fundamental issues,” DPP leader Yuichiro Tamaki told a news conference Wednesday. “The focus is whether we can find common ground on policies and philosophy,” he added.

A senior DPP official separately said, “We are unlikely to reach an agreement by year-end.”

Tamaki said that secretaries-general of the two parties are currently promoting the merger talks while taking into consideration next year’s ordinary session of the Diet, which will start next month, and a possible breakup of the House of Representatives for a snap election.

At a DPP general council meeting later on Wednesday, the party’s secretary-general, Hirofumi Hirano, reported that the DPP and the CDP are discussing 20 items related to their envisaged merger, including the coordination of candidates in the next Lower House election. “The merger talks are highly likely to be extended into next year,” he said.

The CDP has been aiming to strike a merger accord with the DPP by the end of the year, but DPP lawmakers, mainly members in the House of Councilors, remain cautious about the integration.

Attention is on whether the two parties can reach an agreement before the expected start of the Diet session on Jan. 20, pundits said.

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