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Democratic Party

Renho Signals Eagerness to Betray Current Political Allies

SNA (Tokyo) — In her New Year’s press conference held in Ise city, Mie Prefecture, Democratic Party leader Renho announced her desire to form a political alliance with the popular, rightwing governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, while signaling increased hesitance towards her party’s current Communist Party allies.

Declaring that her own “life’s work” is administrative reform, Renho cited Governor Koike as a natural ally. The Democratic Party, Renho stated, would watch Koike’s political movements carefully, and if the opportunity presents itself, she would like to work together with her. Party officials will explore practical possibilities.

Governor Koike, of course, has built a career in rightwing politics, and her current maneuvers are essentially an extension of the populist and reformist policies of former LDP Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (r. 2001-2006).

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, is allied to three smaller political parties—the Japan Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the Liberal Party—which are all on political left and are fundamentally suspicious of neoliberal economic policies. In other words, they are in many ways on the opposite side in terms of ideology and policy as compared to Governor Koike.

In regard to cooperation with her party’s current Japan Communist Party partners, Renho suggested that candidate coordination would proceed “after first tying up a policy agreement.”

While the three smaller opposition parties have been consistent in calling for closer coordination with the Democratic Party, Renho has resisted a full embrace, pressured by conservative lawmakers within her own party and from the fiercely anti-Communist Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), which is her party’s most effective institutional supporter.

It remains questionable, however, whether the Democratic Party conservatives and Rengo have any viable political strategy that could adequately replace the current, if unstable, four-party alliance.

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