Outspoken pair aim to forge Japan 'third force'
- Published: 17/11/2012 at 08:47 PM
- Online news:
Two of Japan's most outspoken and headstrong politicians announced Saturday they would join forces to fight next month's general election, media reported.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto (left) shakes hands with ex-Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara (right) during Hashimoto's Japan Restoration Party meeting in Osaka on November 17. The pair, two of Japan's most outspoken and headstrong politicians, announced Saturday they would join forces to fight next month's general election, media reported.
Acerbic former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and the feisty mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, agreed to combine their parties in a bid to forge a "third force" at polls on December 16.
Ishihara, 80, will helm the coupling of his own Party of the Sun and the Japan Restoration Party, with Hashimoto serving as number two, Kyodo News reported from Osaka.
The marriage had been proposed some weeks ago, but a number of key policy differences had divided the two parties, among them nuclear power, taxation, electoral reform and Japan's participation in a huge free trade agreement.
It was not immediately clear how many of these differences had been resolved.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set the election ball rolling on Friday when he dissolved the lower house of parliament, almost certainly ending his nearly-15-month premiership.
His disintegrating Democratic Party of Japan, which had nearly two thirds of the house's 480 seats when they swept to power in 2009 but no longer commands a majority, is widely expected to lose at polls.
Their three years in power -- with three prime ministers -- have left voters underwhelmed after a series of policy flip-flops, foreign policy missteps and a bungled response to the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster.
While the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party is fairing slightly better in the opinion polls under the recycled leadership of one-time premier Shinzo Abe, they are not seen as likely to garner enough seats to govern solo.
Commentators expect some form of coalition after the vote, with narrowly-focused small parties possibly playing a disproportionately large role.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency