Apparently, Ishihara made concessions to Hashimoto’s policy supporting phase-out of nuclear energy and participating in the US-led trans-Pacific trade block. The timing of the election could pre-empt moves by more conservative challengers to build enough electoral support.
Ishihara, 80, now heads the Japan Restoration Party, replacing Hashimoto, who now serves in the No. 2 post. Hashimoto, 43, has said he will remain mayor of Osaka and not run in the election. On Saturday, he announced backing 47 candidates to run in the polls.
“We’ll claw our way through the election battle — not just to win seats, but to change the root of this country,” Hashimoto told a televised party convention. “We will change all forces that try to defend the status quo.”
Additional reporting by AP