Japan lawmakers flock to would-be kingmaker
TOKYO (AFP) - Seven lawmakers said on Tuesday they would leave their parties to join a new grouping being formed by populist Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, a man seen as possible kingmaker in Japan's next general election.
The outspoken and colourful Mr Hashimoto is increasingly a force to be reckoned with on Japan's often grey political stage.
His abrasive wit and outsider status set him apart from the air of entitlement among establishment lawmakers, many of whom are second or third generation parliamentarians.
An almost nightly fixture on news programmes, he is the go-to man for broadcasters looking for a lively quote on everything from Korean sex slaves to tattooed public servants.