Japan

Tokyo Governor Quits to Start New National Party

Wants to push Japan to the right with nationalist agenda

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One of Japan's highest-profile nationalists, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, said Thursday that he will resign his post and form a political party in a bid to gain power in the country's central government.

The new party figures to drive Japan even farther to the right at a time when the nation's two leading political parties have approval ratings below 25 percent. Japan must call a new parliamentary election by August.

During his 13 years as governor — the top post in Japan's capital — Ishihara, 80, denounced immigrants, spoke about Japanese people's superior sensibilities and advocated that the nation acquire nuclear weapons. He also said the devastating March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami were "divine punishment" because Japan had become too greedy. He was then reelected.