Photo/Illutration Nobuyuki Baba, head of Nippon Ishin, gives a speech at the party convention in Osaka on May 14. (Takuya Tanabe)

OSAKA--Rising opposition party Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) reappointed its chief on the back of its strong showing in unified local elections held in April and reconfirmed its plans to field candidates in all 289 single-seat districts in the next Lower House election.

“Our next goal is to secure the largest number of Lower House seats among opposition parties in the next election,” Nobuyuki Baba, the party head, said at the extraordinary party convention held here on May 14.

“As an extension, our party will eventually gain power and display a new style of politics that has not yet been conducted in Japan.”

A focus of the strategy will be six single-seat districts in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures where lawmakers of Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, currently hold seats.

Nippon Ishin so far has refrained from putting up candidates in the six constituencies to secure cooperation for the party’s proposal to create an Osaka metropolitan administration.

However, Baba said in April that the party will “reset” its relationship with Komeito after it gained a majority of seats both in the Osaka prefectural and municipal assemblies in the unified local elections.

Speaking to reporters after the party convention on May 14, Baba said he intends to make a final decision on the six constituencies after consulting with Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, who serves as co-head of Nippon Ishin, and other party executives.

In the unified local elections, a combined 774 local assembly members and local government heads were elected with support from Nippon Ishin, exceeding the party’s goal of 600.

As a result, the party decided not to hold a party leader election and reappointed Baba at the convention.

Under its rules, Nippon Ishin must call an extraordinary party convention after a national election or unified local elections to decide whether it will hold a party leader election.

(This article was written by Amane Sugawara and Takashi Yoshikawa.)