"The LDP has no policies of its own"

Last month, opposition icon and democratic party leader Naoto Kan joined forces with Ichiro Ozawa, head of the Liberal Party. In his modest office, Kan, 56, spoke with TIME Tokyo bureau chief Jim Frederick about the new Democratic Party and how he hopes to take on Koizumi in the general elections likely to take place this fall.

TIME: Why merge?

Kan: We thought that a merger was an effective way of realizing a change in administration in the next election. Reform is necessary in Japan today, and the two parties share this basic...

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