Photo/IllutrationKohei Otsuka, left, and Yuichiro Tamaki shake hands after their selection as co-leaders of the Kokumin Minshuto (People's democratic party) on May 7. (Shinichi Iizuka)

A new opposition party was established on May 7 through the merger of two parties, but it only attracted about 60 percent of the members who at one time belonged to those two entities.

The Kokumin Minshuto (People's democratic party) was formed through the merger of the Democratic Party and Kibo no To (Hope).

But only 62 members joined in the convention held at a Tokyo hotel on May 7 to formally launch the new opposition party, dashing hopes of it becoming the largest opposition bloc.

The Democratic Party was torn apart last year ahead of the Lower House election, and the latest move was intended to bring together the two major blocs.

But a number of veteran lawmakers from the former Democratic Party, such as Yoshihiko Noda, the last Democratic Party prime minister, submitted notices of their intent to leave the Democratic Party before it merged with Kibo no To. Moreover, a number of Kibo no To lawmakers also have expressed their intention to become independents rather than join the new party.

Kohei Otsuka, the head of the Democratic Party, and Yuichiro Tamaki, the leader of Kibo no To, will serve as co-leaders of the new party.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan will remain as the largest opposition bloc in the Lower House. It could take over the position of largest opposition party in the Upper House from the Democratic Party depending on the number of defections in that chamber.