OSAKA – Nippon Ishin no Kai head and Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui confirmed that Toru Hashimoto, the former Osaka governor and mayor who helped found the Ishin movement, will be a speaker at the new political school founded last month by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike.
“Their policies, especially in regards to things like deregulation, are things the Liberal Democratic Party can’t approve of,” Matsui told reporters Wednesday. “If Koike can get things done, we can tie up and it’s inevitable that she’ll distance herself from the LDP.”
Matsui said that it was Koike who originally approached Hashimoto about speaking at her newly established school for political aspirants, and that he encouraged Hashimoto to take the governor up on her offer at a party meeting last month.
How to deal with Koike has been a subject of some controversy within Nippon Ishin. While Hashimoto has offered words of encouragement to the governor from the time she was elected in July, Matsui has worried that a closer relationship with the maverick, who ran against a Liberal Democratic Party-backed candidate, could hurt Nippon Ishin’s ties with the LDP, especially Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, with whom he is close.
Nippon Ishin’s views on many issues, especially constitutional revision and TPP, are close to those of the LDP, although decentralization and bureaucratic reform are areas where the two parties have often butted heads.
On Wednesday, Matsui said that Koike was serious about reform, and that having Hashimoto participate in her school as a guest lecturer, and possibly more, was an advantage for those seeking reform — and not just in Tokyo.
“If things change in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, then decentralization can proceed,” Matsui said.
Koike has already appointed a key former adviser to Hashimoto, Keio University professor Shinichi Ueyama, to oversee a panel looking into the costs and budget for the Olympic Games in 2020. She and Hashimoto share conservative or right-wing views on many social and political issues and there has been much speculation as to how Hashimoto might help Koike, especially in the run-up to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly elections next summer.
Koike, originally from Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, represented the region in the Diet until moving to Tokyo in 2005 and knows many Nippon Ishin members from the Kansai region.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.