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Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 15:00 - 16:00

Kouhei Ohtsuka, President, the Democratic Party

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.

The Democratic Party (DP), which fell from its place as Japan's top opposition force in last October's general election, is seeking to form a new "middle-of-the-road party" -- as its leader Kouhei Ohtsuka puts it -- by wooing back defectors in a political merry-go-round.

Ohtsuka said after the February 4 DP convention that his party, whose predecessor held power from 2009 to 2012, aims to regroup the fragmented opposition camp in the run-up to next year's nationwide local elections and upper-house poll. The FCCJ is fortunate to have him expound on his strategy.

The largely center-left DP splintered just ahead of the lower-house election when many members tried to join forces with a new party organized by then hugely popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike. But conservative Koike excluded the DP's liberal wing from the emerging group named the Party of Hope.

Her gambit invited a voter backlash that allowed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's conservative Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner Komeito to maintain a supermajority in the House of Representatives. The DP liberals formed the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP), grabbing 55 seats to become the biggest opposition group in the key chamber, while the Party of Hope picked up 51 seats and 14 went to what remained of the DP. Abe's party stood out with 284 seats, boosting his drive to change Japan's post-war pacifist constitution.

The CDP has been spurning a proposal to build a solid opposition alliance. But this initiative regained momentum this month when conservative elements of the Party of Hope took action to break up with DP converts due to major differences on constitutional and security issues. It prompted Ohtsuka to propose merging with a revamped Party of Hope.

Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Feb 14 18 PC Kouhei Ohtsuka040


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