On Nov. 21 Naoki Inose, the vice governor of Tokyo Prefecture under Shintaro Ishihara, who decided to cut his tenure short and make a run for national office, finally announced his candidacy for the governor’s seat. That contest will be decided in a special election set for Dec. 16, the same date on which the nation will vote for a new Lower House.

Inose, a writer by trade who belongs to no party, is virtually assured of winning because he has not only been endorsed by Ishihara himself, but also by the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komeito, Your Party and, naturally, Nihon Reformation Party, which just absorbed Ishihara’s fledgling Sunrise Party. There will be at least four other candidates running for Tokyo governor, but media say they have almost no chance.

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