Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said on Wednesday night that he may resign as co-leader of the Nippon Ishin No Kai (Japan Restoration Party) if the party fares poorly in Tokyo metropolitan assembly election.
At a press conference, Hashimoto told reporters, "If we do not gain support, I won't be able to continue as joint leader," but he did not say what would constitute an election disappointment, TV Asahi reported.
Public support for the Japan Restoration Party fell dramatically last month after Hashimoto's controversial remarks on Japan's wartime sex slave industry, which provoked strong criticism both at home and overseas. However, Hashimoto said he had no plans to resign as Osaka mayor, saying that was up to the people at the next election.
The Tokyo metropolitan assembly election is seen as a guide to the results of the next month's House of Councillors election, in which 253 candidates will vie for 127 seats. The election board has revealed that the Japan Restoration Party plans to field 34 candidates in the election, while the Liberal Democratic Party will field 59, the Democratic Party of Japan 44, and the Japanese Communist Party 42 candidates. The Japan Restoration Party currently has three seats.
Shintaro Ishihara, the co-head of the Japan Restoration Party, was among those criticizing Hashimoto for his remarks on Japan's sex slave network during World War II. Ishihara said Tuesday that Hashimoto's remarks have had a negative impact on public support for the party.© Japan Today