The Straits Times
Published on Oct 25, 2012

Right-wing Tokyo governor steps down to start new party


TOKYO (AFP) Beijing-baiting Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, whose bid to buy disputed islands ignited a smouldering row between Japan and China, resigned on Thursday to start his own national political party.

The outspoken Mr Ishihara, 80, who has run one of the world's biggest cities for more than 13 years, said Japan's pacificist post-war constitution was "ugly" and needed to be reframed.

"As of today, I will resign as Tokyo governor," he told a news conference, in an announcement that took Japan's political and media establishment by surprise.

"I'm planning to return to national politics. I want to do so by forming a new party with my associates."