DPJ defectors to launch new party 'Kizuna'

DPJ defectors to launch new party `Kizuna` Tokyo: Lawmakers who quit the ruling Democratic Party of Japan in protest against party leader and prime minister Yoshihiko Noda's sales tax hike plan intend to launch a new party on January 4, people close to them said on Saturday.

The party to be formed by the nine House of Representative members will be headed by Akira Uchiyama elected from Chiba Prefecture and will be named 'Kizuna', meaning bonds or solidarity between people, they said.

The lawmakers are preparing to register their new party with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on Wednesday.

They will discuss general principles, basic policies and key posts of the new party on Tuesday. Koichiro Watanabe, a lower house member from the proportional-representation Tokyo constituency, is expected to become the secretary general, the sources said.

The lower house members submitted their resignation letters earlier in the week to protest a decision by Noda to raise the sales tax to cover swelling social security costs.

The DPJ on Thursday approved a plan to double the tax to 10 percent by 2015.

The new party's name is the same word selected in an annual poll in December as the kanji character that best summed up the year 2011, which was dominated by the quake and tsunami disaster in March.