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Democratic Party leader Maehara, right, envisions an alliance with Gov. Koike's new party.

Opposition Democrats seek merger with Tokyo gov's party

Koike's 'Party of Hope' may demand shift toward center, creating rift among Democrats

| Japan

TOKYO -- The leader of the Democratic Party met with Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike Tuesday night to discuss a possible merger with her new national party, aiming to assemble a political force that can take on the dominant ruling party.

Seiji Maehara is looking at a broad opposition realignment that could also include Ichiro Ozawa's Liberal Party. Koike just launched Kibo no To, or the "Party of Hope," ahead of the general election expected for Oct. 22.

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