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When Shintaro Ishihara abruptly resigned as governor of Tokyo at the end of last month to form Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party), it was unclear what his political aims were.

Some speculate the 80-year-old wants to trigger a political realignment and become a key player in Nagata-cho. Others say he wants to become prime minister, the seat he yearned for but failed to get in 1989 when he lost the presidential race for the then-ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Toshiki Kaifu beat him and became prime minister.

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