Yukio Edano named leader of Japan’s new oppn party

Yukio Edano on Thursday was named leader of Japan’s new main opposition party that will be formed through a merger in a bid to better challenge the ruling coalition.

Edano, 56, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), beat the only other candidate in the leadership race, Kenta Izumi, 46, the policy chief of the second-largest opposition Democratic Party for the People (DPP), reports Xinhua news agency.

The merger of the two parties, which will be formed by the merger of the CDPJ and the DPP, is slated for September 15.

Along with a number of independent politicians joining, the party, which is pitching itself as to mount a united front against the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition, will have 149 lawmakers, .

Edano’s new party will see some high-profile lawmakers in its ranks, including Ichiro Ozawa, a highly-influential veteran lawmaker, as well as former prime ministers Naoto Kan and Yoshihiko Noda.

In light of speculation the lower house of parliament could be dissolved in as early as October for a snap election, Edano will have to swiftly try and garner as much public support as possible.

Edano became a familiar face among the public here as he served the country’s top government spokesperson during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis and regularly appeared on TV to give briefings on the crisis as it unfolded.