Tokyo governor's new party, opposition Democrats may merge ahead of Japan poll -Nikkei

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 26, 2017 6:09 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese party being launched by popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike may merge with the main opposition Democratic Party, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday, adding uncertainty to the outlook for a general election next month.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he would call the snap election to reset his mandate, betting that his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and junior coalition party can keep their majority in parliament's lower house, where they hold a two-thirds "super majority".

Abe will dissolve the lower house on Thursday for a vote expected on Oct. 22.

The Nikkei said that Koike met Democratic Party leader Seiji Maehara on Tuesday to discuss the possible merger, which could also include another small opposition party.

But the newspaper said the prospects for a merger were uncertain, since Koike has suggested she was not keen and the move could trigger a split in the Democratic Party.

Koike, 65, who launched her fledgling Party of Hope just this week, defied the LDP to run successfully for the Tokyo governorship a year ago and in July fielded candidates who routed the LDP in an election for the metropolitan assembly.

A former LDP member and defense minister, Koike has said she aimed to push reformist policies, open government and an end to reliance on nuclear power.

(Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Dan Grebler)