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Barely a year after it was reorganized by merging another party, the Democratic Party seems to be in crisis. The recent revolt of two of its leading conservatives — one leaving the leading opposition party and the other resigning as its deputy chief by challenging the party leadership’s policies — and the defection of one candidate after another who had been tapped to run on the party’s ticket in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in July testify to the failure of DP chief Renho to rally the party members around her. The dismal popular support for the DP in media surveys continues to bode ill for the party’s turnaround since its crushing fall from power five years ago.

Former Vice Defense Minister Akihisa Nagashima bolted from the DP ostensibly in protest of the party leadership’s pursuit of campaign cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party, while the party’s deputy chief, Goshi Hosono, who had endorsed Renho in the party leadership race in September, quit the position and criticized the DP’s policy of opposing amending the Constitution under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s watch.

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