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Yuriko Koike says now's the time to make her return to national politics

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike speaks to the Nikkei Asian Review in Tokyo on Sept. 25. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- Japan's looming general election comes as no surprise to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who had been readying a new political party to give voters an alternative to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's brand of leadership, she said in an interview Monday.

Although she had previously denied having ambitions for returning to national politics, Koike said the time was now right for her to have a go at it. She announced her Kibo no To ("Party of Hope") on Monday.

"I thought a lower house election on Oct. 22 might well be a political choice" for the prime minister, Koike said, since the fourth Sunday in October had already been picked for by-elections to fill seats left vacant by the deaths of three members of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party.

A week ago, Koike criticized Abe's plans for a snap election, saying she couldn't understand the justification.

Hold the tax hike

Koike listed the October 2019 consumption tax hike as a top issue for her party, arguing the increase should be put off "until Japan has an economic recovery that people can feel."

#Japan  #Tokyo

Topics: japan , tokyo