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Japan's Election

How Japan's political parties realigned ahead of election

Emergence of Koike's Party of Hope triggered the largest opposition's split

KENTARO IWAMOTO, Nikkei staff writer

TOKYO -- Japan's opposition parties have shifted into a historic realignment, including a split of the largest opposition force, as the countdown continues to the Oct. 22 general election.

Triggered by the establishment of Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike's Kibo no To, or Party of Hope, in late September, the Democratic Party has decided on a de facto merger with the new party. Democrats who did not join the Party of Hope launched a new party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, which is seeking collaboration with other opposition forces.

Meanwhile, Koike's party and Nippon Ishin no Kai have agreed to cooperate in the election.

The election therefore is shaping up to be a three-way fight among the Liberal Democratic Party/Komeito; Hope/Ishin; and Constitutional Democrat/Social Democrat/Communist groups.

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