OSAKA – Toru Hashimoto, the former Osaka governor, mayor and co-founder of Osaka-based Nippon Ishin no Kai, has cut ties with the national party following its poor performance in the Oct. 22 Lower House election.
“I’m resigning as Nippon Ishin’s legal adviser,” Hashimoto said on his Twitter account.
With the decision, Hashimoto, who officially retired from politics in 2015 but continued to advise Nippon Ishin, ended all formal ties with the party he helped create. He had also served as policy adviser but quit that position in May.
Hashimoto said he would continue to serve as a legal adviser to Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), the local political group he and Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui, who heads Nippon Ishin, founded. Osaka Ishin has pluralities in the municipal and prefectural assemblies but must work with Komeito to get legislation passed.
Hashimoto’s resignation came after Nippon Ishin won 11 of the 14 seats it held before the election, including only three of 15 seats in Osaka Prefecture. The poor performance led to criticism within the party, especially among younger members, of Matsui’s leadership and the way party elders were running things.
“Many Nippon Ishin members were defeated in the Lower House election, and the party lost the Sakai mayoral election,” Hodaka Maruyama, 33, one of the three Nippon Ishin members from Osaka, tweeted on Tuesday. “Party members and Diet members are supposed to have equal votes. But there’s never been an opportunity to hold a leadership election. Whether or not Matsui would once again be chosen, things won’t progress without an election.”
While Nippon Ishin’s charter calls for a general party congress, and possibly a leadership election, to be held within 45 days of a national election, no member other than co-founders Matsui and Hashimoto has ever run for the top spot.
Maruyama’s tweet touched off a series of angry rebuttal tweets by Hashimoto, who attacked Maruyama personally and offered his own analysis of what happened to Nippon Ishin.
“You have this illusion you won on your own strength. The reason you won is because Matsui is governor of Osaka,” Hashimoto said in a Wednesday tweet.
“The reason Nippon Ishin is no longer good is, first of all, my own personality (as co-founder). Next is the fact that the party’s Diet members have ‘Nagatacho sickness,’ ” he added, referring to Tokyo’s political epicenter. “They’re happy they’re meeting people in Nagatacho. They have to do in other prefectures what Osaka Ishin did in Osaka.”
On Thursday, Maruyama said there would be a party congress and that he didn’t mean he wanted Matsui replaced. But while Hashimoto suggested that without Matsui at the helm, Nippon Ishin is finished, the Osaka governor appeared less bothered by the spat.
“It’s fine if younger party members say what they want, and I’m not going to respond (to the controversy),” Matsui told reporters in Osaka on Thursday.
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.