They say that in politics you never really make friends or enemies; you simply transform to a role that suits the situation best. So it comes as no surprise that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara are merging their new political parties ahead of next month’s general election. This is their counter-attack against the current ruling and opposition parties.
Japan Restoration Party and the Sunrise Party formed will form a “third force” (Star Wars anyone?) to counter the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the largest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party. Basically what is happening is that the Sunrise Party will be dissolved and its members will join the Japan Restoration Party. The reshuffle will result in Ishihara becoming its chief and Hashimoto doing his bit as the acting head. The two leaders had to work out their minor differences before agreeing to come together and working on a common goal.
The merger has not gone down too well with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who sees this move as chance at seizing power at all costs. This is politics Noda, what else did you think would happen? Everyone is fighting to win the power-seat! One of Noda’s caustic observations was that the merged parties don’t share the same vision in some key areas like a regional free trade accord. Genzei Nippon (Tax Cut Japan) led by Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura is not being included in the merger because of differences in policies.
It was almost two weeks ago that Ishihara proposed the merger to Hashimoto and the Japan Restoration Party asked the Sunrise Party to accept the policies it had compiled along with the minor opposition Your Party. Interestingly, Yoshimi Watanabe’s Your Party will not be incorporated into the coalition, however they will cooperate with the merged party for the election campaign.