Outspoken leaders from Japan's two biggest cities formed a national political party Saturday, seeking to become "a third force" to lure undecided voters and challenge the country's two biggest parties.
Nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, who resigned as Tokyo governor to create his own party this week, said he is scrapping his four-day-old group to join the Japan Restoration Party formed in September by the young and brash mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto.
The announcement comes the day after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament, paving the way elections next month. His ruling party is expected to give way to a weak coalition government divided over how to tackle Japan's myriad problems. The biggest problems are getting a stagnant economy going again and reconstruction after the crippling March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Elections are set for Dec. 16, with official campaigning starting Dec. 4. If Noda's centrist party loses, the economically sputtering country will get its seventh prime minister in six and a half years.
Singaporean chef Li Kwok Wing has trumped nine other chefs from around the world to clinch the gold medal in the finals of the inaugural Washoku World Challenge held in Tokyo on Sunday. (Straits Times )
Tokyo Metropolitan Police in November announced the bust of a studio for allowing photography of school girls in seductive poses. According to Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 19), the trade in illicit private photography is varied, with office ladies among those in the biz. (Tokyo Reporter)
Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday they have arrested four individuals in Ebina, in connection with a robbery case in which a pregnant woman on her way home was struck in the face and robbed of approximately 100,000 yen in cash. (Japan Today )