Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara announced Thursday that he will resign and return to national politics by launching a new political party and becoming its leader. He is stepping down as governor nearly two and half years before his term expires. Given his popularity and personality, and voters’ frustration with the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the No. 1 opposition Liberal Democratic Party, his move will have a political impact. Although Mr. Ishihara has some accomplishments as Tokyo governor, his political orientation must be strictly watched, including his views on the Constitution and foreign policy.
As governor of Tokyo, Mr. Ishihara succeeded in reconstructing the metropolitan government’s finances, imposed strict restrictions on exhausts from diesel vehicles, internationalized Haneda airport and pushed the redevelopment of urban districts. But he did not make improvements in areas directly related to people’s daily lives, such as social welfare, medical services and cultural services.
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