Kenta Izumi, the policy chief of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, formally announced Wednesday his candidacy for the party's leadership election to be held at the end of the month.
Ahead of the start of campaigning on Friday, Seiji Osaka, 62, former special adviser to the prime minister, also announced his bid for the party leadership, while Chinami Nishimura, 54, former senior vice minister of health, labor and welfare, expressed her intention to run at a meeting of some CDP members.
Izumi, 47, said he will seek to build a society in which people can feel secure and vowed to reform his party after its Oct. 31 general election loss.
"I want to stand in the forefront in reforming the party," Izumi said. "I want to change the negative image of the party to a positive one."
While opposition parties had unified candidates in a bid to consolidate the anti-Liberal Democratic Party vote in the House of Representatives election, Izumi did not set a clear direction regarding how the party should work with other parties in the House of Councillors election next year.
"I will consider what to do by taking into account the number of seats and the situation in each area," he said. "I'm not ruling out any option."
Osaka said, "I'll broaden our policy landscape to make the CDP a party that embraces a wide range of opinions." He is supported by a group of liberal CDP members, the party's largest intraparty group.
"I'll work hard to create a better politics," said Nishimura, a member of a CDP group that includes former Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Some CDP members have been seeking to field a female candidate in the leadership election.
Junya Ogawa, 50, former parliamentary vice minister for internal affairs and communications, and Hiroshi Ogushi, 56, former parliamentary vice minister for finance, have also suggested their readiness to run for the CDP leadership.
The election will be held on Nov. 30 after Yukio Edano announced his resignation as CDP leader following the party's defeat in the Lower House election.
The new party chief will be tasked with leading the party into next summer's Upper House election.
The CDP, which previously held 110 seats in the powerful 465-member lower chamber, currently has 96 seats despite joining hands with other opposition parties including the Japanese Communist Party to create a united front against Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ruling coalition.
The LDP secured 261 seats, retaining a comfortable majority to effectively control all standing committees and steer the legislative process.
Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, went from 29 to 32 seats.
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