Tokyo Ex-Governor Joins New Conservative Party

Outspoken leaders from Japan’s two biggest cities formed a national political party Saturday, seeking to become “a third force” to lure undecided voters and challenge the country’s two biggest parties.

Nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, who resigned as Tokyo governor to create his own party this week, said he is scrapping his four-day-old group to join the Japan Restoration Party formed in September by the young and brash mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto.

The announcement comes the day after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way elections next month. His ruling party is expected to give way to a weak coalition government divided over how to tackle Japan’s myriad problems. The biggest problems are getting a stagnant economy going again and reconstruction after the crippling March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Elections are set for Dec. 16, with official campaigning starting Dec. 4. If Noda’s centrist party loses, the economically sputtering country will get its seventh prime minister in six and a half years.

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Hashimoto Admits it All – Had Affair and Doesn’t Even Deny Cosplay

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has admitted to an extramarital affair with a club hostess prior to entering public office, confirming the revelation the day before a weekly tabloid magazine published a detailed account of their relationship Thursday.

The popular Hashimoto, who plans to support up to 300 candidates in the next Lower House election, said late Wednesday that the article in Shukan Bunshun magazine detailing his relationship with the woman in 2006 was generally true.

The article in Shukan Bunshun, which also revealed last autumn that Hashimotos father was a gangster, was described by the mayor as containing truths and distortions.

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