Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara signaled his intention Wednesday to seek re-election in the April 13 gubernatorial poll.
Ishihara, 70, told a plenary session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly that he will “make his plan clear” on March 7, the last day of the assembly session.
“Not just speaking about myself, the job of a governor takes at least two terms to leave sufficient results,” he said in response to urging from a Liberal Democratic Party member that he continue his work.
Asked by reporters earlier in the day if he has decided to run for a second four-year term, Ishihara said he would give his answer during the metropolitan assembly session, telling them, “please listen.”
The main political parties have been perplexed by Ishihara’s reticence about whether he will seek a second term, with some reluctant to put up a candidate against him if he does run.
The LDP and New Komeito, partners in the ruling coalition in the Diet, have demanded that Ishihara clarify his intention before the metro assembly begins debate on the metropolitan government’s budget, which tops 12 trillion yen.
On Sunday, Naoto Kan, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, said the largest opposition force will not support Ishihara and will field its own candidate in the gubernatorial race.
But at the same time, Kan said his party would support a candidate from another party if that person is deemed good enough and favors greater local autonomy through a shift of revenue allocation from the central government.
The Japanese Communist Party is also expected to field its own candidate.
A prize winning novelist, Ishihara was overwhelmingly elected Tokyo governor in April 1999 without relying on support from the big political parties, including the LDP, to which he once belonged.
After becoming governor, he slapped a size-based tax on major banks operating in the capital and imposed curbs on diesel-powered vehicles that drive through Tokyo. The bank tax was ruled illegal by the Tokyo District and High courts, and the case is now before the Supreme Court.
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