Ichirō Ozawa - Liberal Party

Liberal Party

Ozawa's autocratic leadership style had alienated many of his former allies. Even Tsutomu Hata, disillusioned after his leadership battle with Ozawa, seceded to form the Sun Party in 1996. By 1998, so many had abandoned Ozawa that he announced the dissolution of the New Frontier Party, taking his remaining followers to found the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party formed a coalition with the LDP, and Keizō Obuchi began negotiating a future remerger. The idea of Ozawa returning was met with mixed reaction in the LDP. The YKK partnership of Taku Yamasaki, Junichiro Koizumi and Koichi Kato was strongly opposed to Ozawa, along with anti-reformer Hiromu Nonaka. Powerful faction leader Shizuka Kamei supported Ozawa, chiefly due to similar views on military reform. Eventually, Ozawa's enemies were successful in blocking the merger.

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