Tokyo Governor At centre Of China Island Spat China Quits To Form New Party

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara

Tokyo’s outspoken right-wing governor, Shintaro Ishihara, resigned his post today after 13 years and announced that he is forming a new national party, the Associated Press reported.

Japan must call a parliamentary election by Aug. 2013, and neither the ruling Democratic Party nor the Liberal Democratic Party are likely to win a majority, meaning they’ll have to form alliances with smaller parties like Ishihara’s to form a government, the New York Times reported.

According to the AP:

With Ishihara’s announcement, Japan’s next parliamentary election is shaping up as a choice between moderate, right and far right, with no influential liberal voices.

Ishihara has gained notoriety in recent years for his extreme nationalist ideas – blaming immigrants for crime, describing Japanese people as superior to others and suggesting that Japan needs to acquire nuclear weapons, the AP reported.

Earlier this year, Ishihara sparked anger in China when he attempted to buy the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its own, from their Japanese-citizen owner in order to protect them from China, the New York Times reported. Japan’s central government stepped in to buy the islands instead.

“I’m 80 years old, and I ask myself: Why does it have to be me? Why can’t the young get their act together?” Ishihara said at a news conference today, according to the New York Times. “But if Japan keeps going like this, it will sink into a pit and die.” He added: “While I still have life, I’d like to offer my last service to this country.”

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