Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s Japan Restoration Party will field 142 candidates in the Dec 16 lower house election, considerably less than had been expected.
The party, which merged with the Sunrise Party and named former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara as its leader, had been expected to put forward at least 241 candidates in a bid to win a majority of seats in the 480-seat lower house.
Hashimoto’s party has lost a little momentum since it merged with the Sunrise Party to create a “third force” in national politics. Hashimoto has been trying to win over the small opposition Your Party but was rebuffed.
The Japan Restoration Party candidates are “graduates” of his school for aspiring politicians, the Ishin Seiji Juku (Political Restoration Academy), which opened in April, drawing 2,025 “students” from all over Japan.
The students, who come from all walks of life, include housewives, businessmen, bureaucrats and unemployed people. They paid tuition and attended training sessions twice a month, learning to articulate their views on various issues.
Hashimoto said the Dec 16 election will be the first big test of his new party and said that his party’s candidates will be the vanguard to bring about fundamental political change in Japan, TV Asahi reported.