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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 June 4 - 10  > Where are ‘third pole’ political forces going?
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2014 June 4 - 10 [POLITICS]

Where are ‘third pole’ political forces going?

June 4, 2014
Political parties professing themselves to be “third pole” forces to replace the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan have fallen into disarray.

At the end of May, the two co-leaders of the Japan Restoration Party, which is one of the so-called “third pole” parties, decided to split the party. This move is following Your Party’s split in December, which also regards itself as a standard-bearer of “third pole” political force.

Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto Toru, one of the co-heads of the JRP, is now consulting with the leadership of the Unity Party, a group of defectors from Your Party, in a bid to form a new political party.

Ex-Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro, the other head of the JRP, opposed the consultation because the Unity Party takes a cautious attitude toward the Abe government’s move to allow the state to exercise the right to collective self-defense. Ishihara told Hashimoto that he will leave the JRP with his supporting representatives.

Eda Kenji, the Unity Party’s leader, requested Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at a Lower House Budget Committee session on May 28 to maintain the conventional interpretation of the Japanese Constitution which bans the state from using the collective self-defense right.

In the meantime, JRP representative Ozawa Sakihito said at the same meeting, “Our party decided on a policy to authorize the state’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense.” Prior to that, when PM Abe directed the governing coalition to start discussions on reinterpreting the supreme law to lift the ban on Japan’s use of the contentious right, Hashimoto praised Abe, saying, “He achieved a great thing that Japanese leaders have never been able to do.”

Concerning a grave political issue such as constitutional interpretation, there is a crucial difference between the two parties. After all, their merger is an unprincipled coalition between the JRP aiming at a stronger foothold in the Diet and the Unity Party looking to take advantage of Hashimoto’s personal popularity.

Without taking a firm stance of opposition to the LDP, these “third pole” parties have become more and more confused.

Past related article:
> ‘Complementary opposition parties’ court government favor [February 7, 2014]
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