People attend the new Democratic Party for the People's inauguration ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, May 7, 2018. The now-obsolete opposition Democratic Party of Japan and the Party of Hope joined forces again Monday under the new single party name Democratic Party for the People. (Xinhua/Ma Ping)
TOKYO, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The now-obsolete opposition Democratic Party of Japan and the Party of Hope joined forces again Monday under the new single party name Democratic Party for the People.
Kohei Otsuka, an upper house lawmaker who led the Democratic Party, and Yuichiro Tamaki, a lower house member who led the Party of Hope, attended the new party's inauguration ceremony on Monday.
The two have been picked as co-leaders of the new Democratic Party for the People.
The new party, with about 107 members prior to the reunion, is unlikely to challenge the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) as the the largest opposition force by lawmakers in the Diet, as a number of lawmakers from the former parties abstained from joining.
The new party's platform has a number of positions that run contrary or different from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
They include a pledge from the party to scrap a part of the controversial security legislation that was rammed through both chambers of parliament with minimal time allowed for opposition debate and against swathes of public opinion.
Specifically, the new party wants to see the part of the legislation which has expanded the Self-Defense Forces' (SDF) role in operations overseas abolished, as they believe it could contravene the nation's pacifist constitution.
The new security legislation came into force in March 2016, against a backdrop of political and civilian protests nationwide, as well as amid concerns from the international community.
In terms of the government's energy proposal and its push to resume the nation's aged reactors, idled in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, the newly-formed Democratic Party for the People has pledged to see a non-nuclear powered Japan in the 2030s.
The Democratic Party was launched in March 2016 through the merger of the Democratic Party of Japan and another small opposition party.
In a short space of time ahead of the lower house election last October, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike established the Party of Hope and Seiji Maehara, who was serving as the then leader of the Democratic Party, having not endorsed anybody in the race, allowed some of his lawmakers to run on the Party of Hope's ticket.
A number of liberal lawmakers from the Democratic Party, however, who were vetoed from joining the Party of Hope for holding contrary political views, ran in the election on the CDPJ's ticket, helping the party to become the largest opposition force currently.
The Party of Hope hugely underperformed in the lower house election, paving the way for Abe's LDP to expand its power in parliament's more powerful lower house.