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Japan's DPJ forms coalition despite disagreements

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The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) moved closer to putting together its historic new government, forming a ruling coalition Wednesday with two smaller parties.

How the coalition works together matters to the United States, because the DPJ and one of its partners, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), have serious disagreements over how to deal with the US military presence in Japan. While the SDP has demanded a reduction of US bases and the revision of a plan to relocate US troops in Okinawa, the DPJ has indicated that it is willing to be more flexible and diplomatic on these matters.

The agreement suggests that DPJ, despite its campaign rhetoric, is displaying a political pragmatism in matters of diplomacy, particularly as Yukio Hatoyama, who as the party’s leader will be sworn in as prime minister next week, will soon visit the US.

Party insiders would not disclose how they overcame their differences or what the substance of their agreement is. They said only: "We've finally wrapped up talks. It's good we had a clean outcome. The three party leaders will meet in the afternoon and sign to confirm," said the DPJ secretary general, Katsuya Okada,” according to the BBC.

The BBC explains why the DPJ, “despite winning a landslide victory in last month's election, … needs support in parliament's upper house.”

The DPJ won 308 seats of the 480-member lower house but needs the support of the smaller parties in the weaker upper house to ensure bills are not delayed.
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