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Party of Hope remains dependent on Koike’s popularity

Opinion polls conducted by the newspapers show that Kibo no To [Party of Hope] is fighting an uphill battle in the House of Representatives election campaign. However, the party is likely to continue to rely on its leader Yuriko Koike as its sole “face” in the election.


Koike expressed concern at the media forecasts during a street corner speech in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward on the morning of Oct. 12.


Koike is very sensitive to criticism of her wearing the two hats of party leader and Tokyo governor, so she has not neglected her official duties during the election campaign and does not have much time to campaign.


More than half of Party of Hope’s candidates are rookies with a weak support base in their constituencies. They are anxiously waiting for Koike to campaign for them to compensate for their low name recognition. Yet Koike will only be able to make campaign speeches in her spare time when she has no official functions scheduled and will not be able to devote herself fully to the campaign. Party members are worried about her restricted campaign activities. An aide indicated that “she will be forced to focus only on the constituencies in the Kanto region.”


However, no one else in the party has the same appeal and presence as Koike. House of Representatives Goshi Hosono, a former environment minister and Democratic Party secretary general, is  about the only one cited who could stand in for Koike. Party of Hope neophyte candidates suffering from the party’s loss of momentum are worried that they will have to fend for themselves. (Abridged)

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