Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s new party Kibo no To released the first list of candidates for the Oct. 22 Lower House election, including 110 Democratic Party members who joined the party in a desperate bid to ensure their political survival.
The list has a total of 191 official candidates for single-seat constituencies, and one for proportional representation.
Masaru Wakasa, a founding member of Kibo no To who is Koike’s close aide, told a news conference Tuesday that the party is prepared to release lists of more candidates and the total will exceed 233, the number needed to attain a majority in the powerful Lower House.
“We will be making second and third announcements. The number will exceed (233 at least),” Wakasa told reporters.
DP members admitted into Kibo no To include former Lower House lawmakers Kenko Matsuki, Takeshi Shina, Kazunori Yamanoi and Yorihisa Matsuno.
Last week, DP chief Seiji Maehara decided to effectively disband the Lower House caucus of Japan’s main opposition force and asked all of its candidates to leave the party and run on the Kibo no To ticket.
Koike, however, said her party will bar liberal DP members who don’t support the controversial 2015 security laws and revision of the postwar Constitution.
Koike’s blacklist reportedly included DP heavyweights including former Prime Ministers Yoshihiko Noda and former Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, who will run as independents.
Meanwhile the DP’s deputy chief, Yukio Edano, another key liberal lawmaker, announced Monday that he will launch a new party called the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced that he will join Edano’s new party and seek re-election in the Oct. 22 election.
Koichiro Genba, the DP’s election affairs chief who negotiated with Wakasa in selecting DP members to join Kibo no To, said it is “regrettable” that some DP member were not included.
Genba added the screening was necessary to maintain party members’ support for policies advocated by Koike’s party.
According to Wakasa, 35 of the 192 candidates are women. The candidates, both men and women, range in age from 28 to 70.