Thousands apply to Hashimoto’s ‘politics school’

Kyodo

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s local political group, Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), widely viewed as the eye of a storm in the event of a Lower House snap poll, said Monday it has drawn 3,326 applicants to his “politics school” to be launched in March as the de facto training ground for prospective election candidates under its ticket.

Among the applicants is an incumbent Lower House member, Shoichi Takahashi of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, who was elected from Hyogo No. 4 district in a 2009 poll, group sources revealed.

But Osaka Ishin no Kai won’t accept any incumbents as school students, said Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui, who won the gubernatorial poll in November to succeed Hashimoto and serves as the group’s secretary general.

“We will compile our own set of policy proposals. Incumbent Diet lawmakers must have their own. I wonder what’s going to happen to their policies if they want to join us,” Matsui told reporters at his office in Osaka.