Nine lawmakers quit the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Thursday and Friday in protest over Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's decision Wednesday to dissolve the lower house and call a general election for Dec 16.
This means that the DPJ -- with 239 seats -- no longer has a majority in the 480-seat lower house, going into the election.
The six who quit the DPJ are Masahiko Yamada, Yoshitada Tomioka, Makoto Yamazaki, Takashi Nagao and Osamu Nakagawa, Sakihito Ozawa. Eriko Fukuda, Ben Hashimoto and Akihiro Hatsushik. The lawmakers bitterly oppose Noda's decision to call an early election mainly because the DPJ's popularity has plummeted in polls in recent weeks. Some, like Yamada, who is a former agriculture minister, oppose Noda's stance on taking Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
Meanwhile, the small opposition Kizuna Party announced that it will disband and five of its six lawmakers will join the People's Life First Party led by former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa. The Kizuna Party was formed by ex-DPJ members who quit the party over their opposition to an increase in the consumption tax. Ozawa's party now has 57 lawmakers.© Japan Today