• Kyodo

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Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, a co-leader of Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party), the second strongest opposition group in the Lower House, will not run in the upcoming House of Representatives election, party members said Sunday.

Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui, the party’s secretary-general, will also refrain from running, they said.

Earlier, it was speculated that the two would run in local single-seat constituencies where the junior ruling coalition partner Komeito is poised to field candidates, given that the two parties are at odds over local administrative reform.

While some party executives had wanted Hashimoto to run to give them a boost in the Dec. 14 election, others were concerned that he would come under fire if he turned to national politics before clearing the way for his reform to create an Osaka metropolitan government.

“We have come to a conclusion not to run this time in the Lower House election. Instead, we will contest in unified local elections (next spring),” Hashimoto was quoted as telling a closed-door meeting of Matsui’s supporters.

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