Hashimoto looks to recruit Diet ranks

Kyodo

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, head of a local political group that is looking to field candidates in an upcoming national election, met with five parliamentarians over the weekend, sources said Monday.

The popular mayor’s meeting with lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties took place in Osaka on Saturday, three days after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he would “soon” dissolve the Lower House for a general election.

The lawmakers, who attended the meeting with Hashimoto, leader of Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), included former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno of the Democratic Party of Japan and Kenta Matsunami of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, according to the sources.

The political group is considering transforming itself into a party by recruiting five or more Diet members ahead of the next nationwide election.

They are believed to have discussed how they can work together on the formation of the new political party with DPJ and LDP legislators who crossed their party lines in voting against a bill to double the sales tax to 10 percent by 2015 in the lower chamber and the House of Councilors in June and August.