New Party Daichi
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|Founded||August 18, 2005|
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New Party Daichi (新党大地 Shintō Daichi) is a Japanese political party formed on August 18, 2005. It is the most active in Hokkaidō, Japan's northernmost and largest prefecture (jurisdiction and administrative division). The party is headed by former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member Muneo Suzuki. Suzuki resigned from the LDP in June 2002, after being arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes. He was convicted of bribery and many other charges the following year, and announced the formation of New Party Daichi while released on bail. He was critical of Junichiro Koizumi's policies and privatization of the postal system. The party's earliest Diet member was Suzuki's daughter, Takako Suzuki in the House of Representatives (Hokkaidō proportional) until the 2014 election when she ran on the DPJ list, and New Party Daichi did not compete. She left the DPJ again in 2016.
Shinto Daichi is categorized as a political organization (seiji dantai) because it does not fulfill the criteria necessary to be recognized as a political party (seitō) under laws regulating party funding and elections.
In 2005, the party fielded one candidate from a single-seat district, while Suzuki headed a roster of three candidates for the proportional representation constituency. In the 2005 and 2009 general elections of the lower house, Muneo Suzuki was elected to a proportional seat in the Hokkaidō bloc. In 2010, when the Supreme Court ultimately confirmed his bribery conviction, Suzuki had to give up his seat to serve his prison term. He was replaced in the House of Representatives by proportional runner-up Takahiro Asano, but remained party leader. In the 2007 regular election of the upper house, the party endorsed independent Ainu activist Kaori Tahara in Hokkaido (two-member district) who lost to the two major party candidates. New Party Daichi did not contest the 2010 upper house election. In 2013, it fielded two prefectural (Hokkaido & Osaka) and nine proportional candidates, but failed to win a seat (14.7% of votes/rank 3 for Takahiro Asano in two-member Hokkaido, 1.5%/rank 7 for Mika Yoshiba in four-member Osaka, 1.0%/no seat for New Party Daichi in the 48-member proportional election).
In late December 2011, the party was joined by five Diet members (see below), and renamed to New Party Daichi—Shinminshu (新党大地・真民主 Shintō Daichi – Shinminshu, "New Party Daichi – True Democrats") Because the party now had five members in the Diet and was founded before January 1, 2012, it was formally recognized as political party in the legal sense in 2012. It became eligible to receive public party funding and other benefits such as nominating dual candidates in lower house elections. The party endorsed most district candidates from Ichirō Ozawa's DPJ-breakaway TPJ and did not compete in the proportional races. In Hokkaido, Daichi candidates – in turn, endorsed by the TPJ – all lost their district races (including two incumbents), but the party won one proportional seat. Tomohiro Ishikawa ranked the highest and took the seat. in 2013, he resigned and was replaced by proportional list runner-up Takako Suzuki.
Members of New Party Daichi – True Democrats were:
- Takahiro Asano (Rep. – Hokkaidō proportional, formerly New Party Daichi)
- Kenkō Matsuki (Rep. – Hokkaidō 12, formerly DPJ (Ozawa group), expelled from the party after his no-confidence vote against Naoto Kan)
- Tomohiro Ishikawa (Rep. – Hokkaidō 11, formerly DPJ (Ozawa group), had to leave the party as Ozawa's ex-secretary during the investigations against Ozawa)
- Yoshirō Yokomine (Coun. – national proportional, formerly DPJ)
- Makoto Hirayama (Coun. – national proportional, formerly New Party Nippon, then an independent member of the DPJ caucus)
Unlike the Kizuna party, New Party Daichi – True Democrats initially wanted to remain with the coalition majority in the Diet. For a few weeks, their members even remained with the DPJ caucus in the House of Councillors, but formed a separate caucus in February 2012 and eventually sided with the opposition to the DPJ-led coalition later in 2012.
The party reverted to its original name on November 28, 2012.
- Ministry of Internal affairs and Communications (sōmu)/"Internal Affairs and Communications": Assembly members and chief executives in prefectures and municipalities by party as of December 31, 2013; note: The ministry's statistics lists composition as of 2013, but party membership as per candidate registration in the most recent election; there is a Hokkaidō – Daichi caucus in the [Hokkai]dōgikai with two members who are both named by the party as members, and the party names nine members of city, town and village assemblies, see assembly website: members by electoral district and caucus, party website: members in prefectural and local assemblies
- Asahi Shimbun, February 14, 2012: 参院に新党大地・真民主発足 民主系離れ新会派