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Seiji Maehara, head of Japan's leading opposition Democratic Party, speaks at a Wednesday gathering in the city of Sendai.

Japan's opposition leader takes leap of faith with merger plans

Joining with the Tokyo governor's new party may be the only hope for Democrats

| Japan

TOKYO -- Democratic Party chief Seiji Maehara's plan to merge with a new party led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike came as a surprise even to those close to him, as he launches a daring campaign to both unite the opposition and keep his own party from fading into irrelevance.

"We will make history," Maehara said at a party meeting on Wednesday. "We need to use every means available to put an end to the Abe government, and we can't win if the opposition is divided."

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