TOKYO -- Now it's a duel. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike on Thursday picked up steam in her challenge to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Her newly established Party of Hope is set to swallow up a large numbers of candidates from the Democratic Party ahead of the general election set for Oct. 22, instantly assuming the DP's role as Japan's largest opposition force.
It was DP leader Seiji Maehara's call to arms that led to the dramatic change in Japan's political landscape. "No matter what it takes, we must stop the Abe government," Maehara told a crowd of some 130 party members from both the upper and lower houses of the Diet, Japan's parliament. His announcement was a de facto merger of the DP with the Party of Hope. "We should choose substance over apperance," Maehara said, calling on his colleagues to join Koike's campaign as candidates of Party of Hope. No one disagreed, changing the entire dynamic of the election at a stroke.