Renho, acting leader of the largest opposition Democratic Party (DP), will not run in the Tokyo gubernatorial election to be held on July 31 to pick the successor of Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, who is set to step down over a political funding scandal, DP sources said.
Renho has informed DP leader Katsuya Okada and Secretary-General Yukio Edano of her decision, according to the sources.
Some DP members had strongly urged Renho to run in the gubernatorial race. However, it was viewed as difficult for her to declare her candidacy at an early stage as candidates who enter the race later have tended to win in recent Tokyo gubernatorial elections. Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who leads an intraparty group of which Renho is a member, was hesitant to support her candidacy in the gubernatorial election.
Renho will run in the July 10 House of Councillors election to seek re-election as scheduled.
As such, the DP will be forced to go back to the drawing board to select a candidate.
The DP is aiming to block the ruling coalition and other forces in favor of constitutional revisions from securing two-thirds of the seats in the upper house in the upcoming election. Amendments to the supreme law must be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of at least two-thirds of all members in both chambers. The party's leadership is desperate to win as many as seats as possible to prevent leader Okada from being held responsible for a defeat.
A prevailing view in the DP is that the party is unlikely to win two seats in the Tokyo constituency, where six seats are up for grabs, without Renho running in the race, according to a senior legislator with the party.
A news presenter-turned politician, Renho is serving her second six-year term as an upper house member and drew attention from the public when she was in charge of efforts to drastically reduce the waste of taxpayers' money as an administrative reform minister.