Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s New Year’s greeting to the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, known as Rengo, on Thursday have once again raised the prospect of deeper ties between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition Democratic Party for the People, which is strongly backed by Rengo members.

While the two parties share many of the same domestic economic policy goals, with the DPP supporting the government’s budget for the fiscal year that began in April, bringing the DPP into the ruling coalition is problematic for the current LDP/Komeito ruling coalition. Though there were reports of coalition negotiations between the parties last month, Kishida denied them, as did DPP chief Yuichiro Tamaki.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the LDP's coalition partner Komeito, said he was not informed of any negotiations, and his party is opposed to bringing the DPP into the coalition.