Your Party eyes Ishihara


The leader of Your Party said Sunday that he will consider joining forces with the new party to be launched by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

“I want to hear Mr. Ishihara’s strategy for defeating centralization of power,” Yoshimi Watanabe said on a television program. Watanabe had apparently been lukewarm about collaborating with Ishihara.

Watanabe said cooperation is possible as long as the parties’ key policies and principles are compatible.

Ishihara announced plans to start a new party during a sudden resignation announcement last week. His goal is to form a third force that can take on both the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition-leading Liberal Democratic Party.

Your Party is the latest new group seeking to join forces against the major parties in the next general election, which must be held by next summer.

Each of the five members of Tachiagare Nippon (Sunrise Party of Japan) plans to join Ishihara’s party, and the Tokyo governor, known for his nationalistic views, is seeking talks with the recently formed Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto to explore a possible alliance.

Watanabe’s party has already held alliance talks with Hashimoto’s group. Your Party has five seats in the House of Representatives.

Indies win governorships


Independent Ryuta Ibaragi was elected new governor of Okayama Prefecture on Sunday while voters in Toyama returned Gov. Takakazu Ishii for a third term.

Ibaragi, a 46-year-old former department store manager, defeated civic leader Koichi Onishi, 72, former assembly member Akiko Ichii, 42, and doctor Shunichiro Yamasaki, 46, with the backing of the opposition-leading Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and agricultural and business groups.

Onishi was backed by the Japanese Communist Party. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan did not officially endorse a candidate.

The economy was the top issue in Okayama, where voters are seeking more jobs and improved welfare.

In Toyama, Gov. Takakazu Ishii, 66, was re-elected after defeating fellow independent Kanji Kometani, 65, who headed the prefectural branch of a national labor union confederation.

Ishii enjoyed the backing of the LDP, New Komeito and the DPJ’s prefectural chapter.