DPFP, Tomin First to back other’s upper house poll candidates

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The opposition Democratic Party for the People and Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites first group), a regional party in Tokyo, exchanged a memorandum Friday on backing each other’s candidates for this summer’s election for the House of Councillors.

The DPFP and Tomin First, for which Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike serves as special adviser, aim to bolster their cooperation to help each other win more votes in the election for the upper chamber of the Diet.

Meanwhile, the two parties shelved a plan to merge ahead of the poll.

The DPFP will back Chiharu Araki, head of First no Kai, the national party set up by Tomin First in a bid to gain a foothold in national politics. Araki will run in the Tokyo constituency, where six of its 12 seats will be contested.

Tomin First will support four proportional representation candidates related to the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, to be fielded by the DPFP.

The two parties also affirmed a plan to establish a joint election headquarters.

Each upper house member has a term of six years. An upper house election is held every three years, with half of its total seats up for grabs in each election.

The DPFP is pinning hopes on the vote-gathering power of Tomin First, which garnered some 1.03 million votes in last year’s Tokyo metropolitan assembly election.

Through close cooperation with the DPFP, which has 12 seats on the upper house, Tomin First aims to win support from Rengo, the umbrella group for the country’s labor unions and a support base for the DPFP, for its entry into national politics.

“We want to stage our election campaign with an aim of gaining one million votes in Tokyo” under the proportional representation system, DPFP leader Yuichiro Tamaki told a press conference Friday.

Tamaki said he would like Koike to “offer as much support as possible.”

At the same press conference, Araki quoted Koike as saying that she is ready to support the DPFP.

At a separate press conference, Koike said, “I think it’s natural for like-minded people to cooperate and work together to realize their policies.”