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Editorial: Is the new party only meant to give some Diet members “hope” for survival?

Did she become impatient with the slow moves to form a new party dependent on her?


Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has announced the founding of the new Kibo no To [Party of Hope], which she will personally lead.


The new party will present itself as a “reformist conservative” party and it intends to field candidates for the House of Representatives election in the Kanto and Kansai regions and other constituencies nationwide.


What was shocking was that Koike “reset” the platform and policies that Lower House member Masaru Wakasa and former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono – who will join her party — were working on and went ahead to enumerate her own policies.


She omitted the whole process of recruiting supporters of her political thinking and developing an ideology and policies. She kicked off the new party with a method of party management that was very far from democratic.


While she was able to underscore her strong leadership in the new party aspiring to offer an alternative to the current administration, she ultimately made it clear that she is fighting this election not on the basis of policies but on the basis of her popularity and leadership.


Nine incumbent Diet members, including those who bolted from the Democratic Party, signed up for the new party. Although Koike has been talking about the need to identify and eliminate candidates “who are interested only in winning the upcoming election,” how far can they really share a common ideology and policies in a short, decisive battle like this?


For sure, Wakasa and Hosono had not worked fast enough to establish the new party. Yet, they will still join the new party that was announced over their heads without complaint. Is this not an indication that the new party is a party that is just meant to fulfill the “hope” of people who simply want to get elected?


The policies presented so far are neither spectacular nor unique. Local autonomy, reduction in the number and stipends of Diet members, information disclosure, and so forth were simply cited to give the impression that the new party is “reformist.”


The fact that this party advocates zero nuclear power plants cannot be overlooked. Does Koike really realize her responsibility as the governor of Tokyo, a major consumer of electricity in Japan, to ensure stable power supply?


Koike does not reject constitutional revision, noting that this issue will be “unavoidable.” Yet she has not taken a clear stand on the revision of Article 9. She is supposed to be a supporter of Article 9 revision but has now backed off from this position.


Koike said that she will remain as the governor of Tokyo while serving as the leader of a national party. Wearing two hats, her hands will be tied by the constraints of someone who is not a Diet member, as in the case of Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui, leader of Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party].


It will not be easy for her to work on the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Toyosu Fish Market, and numerous other issues in Tokyo’s administration while dabbling in national politics. What does she have in mind?

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