Two well-known Japanese politicians have joined forces over the weekend to take on next month’s general elections together, positioned as a “third force”, according to media reports.
Former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, aged 80, and mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto said they would combine their parties, Party of the Sun and the Japan Restoration Party, with Ishihara as leader and Hashimoto serving as the number two.
Japanese are called at general elections on December 16. Prime minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament on Friday and called the elections, despite the current low popularity of his party.
The main opposition party, the Liberal Party of Japan, are better positioned ahead of the elections, but they are not seen as likely to gather enough votes to govern on their own.
Analysts expect some form of coalition after the vote, with small parties possibly playing an important role.