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Newly established CDPJ to field more than 50 candidates in election

The new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, established as
a refuge for the liberal wing of Japan's collapsing main opposition
party, said Wednesday it plans to field more than 50 candidates in
the Oct. 22 lower house election.

Akira Nagatsuma, a member of the recently dissolved lower house,
made the remark to reporters on behalf of the party. It is led by
Yukio Edano, formerly of the Democratic Party, and opposes the idea
of revising the Constitution -- a position dubbed "liberal" in
Japanese politics.

As the Democratic Party has split apart, many of its
pro-amendment members have instead joined the new Party of Hope led
by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.

Earlier, Nagatsuma and others told a press conference the CDPJ
plans to field candidates in 16 of Tokyo's 25 single-seat districts.

The party plans to put up recognizable names like former Prime
Minister Naoto Kan and former Democratic Party leader Banri Kaieda in
the Tokyo districts.

It has until next Tuesday, the start of official campaigning in
the House of Representatives election, to finalize its candidate
lineup.

Nagatsuma refrained from revealing whether the party will field
candidates nationwide, saying, "It's still hard to say anything
definitive."

In contrast, the Party of Hope unveiled Tuesday an initial
cohort of 192 candidates, including 110 hailing from the Democratic
Party. It is said to have rejected some applicants from the
Democratic Party who did not meet its principles especially in the
field of constitutional revision and national security.

Separately Wednesday, Democratic Party Secretary General Atsushi
Oshima said he is leaving the disintegrating party. He is expected to
try to join the Party of Hope.

Oshima has been in his job for less than a month, having been
appointed by Democratic Party leader Seiji Maehara on Sept. 5 after
Maehara defeated Edano in the party's leadership contest.

Last Thursday -- the same day Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
dissolved the lower house -- Maehara effectively disbanded the
Democratic Party by announcing that its members were free to run on
the Party of Hope ticket if they wished to do so.

Maehara and several other senior Democratic Party members now
plan to run as independents in the lower house race. (Oct. 4)