Shintaro Ishihara's term as Tokyo governor officially ended on Wednesday when his resignation was formally accepted by the Tokyo metropolitan assembly.
Ishihara, who was first elected governor in 1999, announced last week that he was stepping down to form a new national political party. He has endorsed Vice Gov Naoki Inose as his successor.
Inose will serve as interim governor until the Tokyo gubernatorial election on Dec 16. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the opposition Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito Party are expected to field candidates.
Ishihara, 80, will take over the reins of the Sunrise Party of Japan from current leader Takeo Hiranuma and the party will get a new name in early November. The Sunrise Party has five lawmakers whose average age is 73.5. The party was formed in 2010 by defectors from the LDP.
The outspoken Ishihara told reporters that he is looking to tie up with a number of smaller opposition parties in order to create a viable third party to the DPJ and LDP, Fuji TV reported.
Ishihara says he wants to transform Japan's political landscape. "Nagatacho is full of politicians who say and do things that are not in the best interest of the people," he said. "We have no choice but to establish a third way. Minor differences can be overcome for a major cause."
Ishihara has hinted at joining hands with at least with two populist parties -- Your Party and the Japan Restoration Party launched by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.
But Ishihara's support for nuclear power, even after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, and clashes with calls by Your Party and Hashimoto's party to abandon the technology. Ishihara and Hashimoto also differ over revising the Constitution.
Government ministers, including Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Education, Science and Technology Minister Makiko Tanaka, have criticized Ishihara for resigning as Tokyo governor.
Asked what he thought about Tanaka's comment that he was a "reckless old man," Ishihara said, "I may be reckless, but I am a determined reckless old man."© Japan Today/AFP