World

Tokyo governor gets boost ahead of Japan polls

TOKYO A fledgling party led by popular Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike gained momentum yesterday ahead of an 
Oct 22 election.

This comes after the biggest opposition Democratic Party said it would step aside to let its candidates run under her conservative, reformist banner.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a conservative who returned to power in 2012, hopes a recent boost in voter support will help his Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition maintain a simple majority.

It now holds a two-thirds "super" majority.

But Ms Koike's new Party of Hope, formally launched only on Wednesday, has upended the outlook for the election after the former LDP member said she would lead it herself.

A media-savvy former defence minister whose name has been bandied about as Japan's first female prime minister, Ms Koike said she would not run for a seat, although speculation persists that she will.

Democratic Party executives said they would not run candidates of their own and would let members run under the Party of Hope banner.

A survey by the Mainichi newspaper showed 18 per cent of voters plan to vote for Ms Koike's party, compared to 29 per cent for LDP.

An Asahi newspaper poll showed 13 per cent planned to vote for her party, versus 32 per cent for the LDP. - REUTERS

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