Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike forms 'Party of Hope' before Japanese election

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike forms 'Party of Hope' before Japanese election

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike forms 'Party of Hope' before Japanese election

Updated 27 September 2017, 22:25 AEST

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is set to reshape national politics with the formation of a new party and a new attack on the status quo.

Yuriko Koike is the current Governor of Tokyo and quite possibly the most interesting thing to happen in Japanese politics in years.

Key points:

  • Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has formed a new political party called Party of Hope
  • There are rumours it may merge with the Democratic Party
  • Ms Koike said she would not resign as Tokyo Governor to run for a seat in the lower house

For a start — she's a woman! (Japan doesn't do so well in this department).

Now, she is set to reshape national politics with the formation of a new party and a new attack on the status quo.

In her party's first publicity video she is seen walking past the male old-guard of Japanese politics towards a light.

The slogans read: Do we endure or do we all change this?

On Monday, in the hours before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his intention to dissolve parliament and send the country to the polls, Ms Koike stole the limelight by announcing the name of the cute baby panda born at a Tokyo zoo in June.

Her name is Xiang Xiang, Governor Koike said, adding "this name evokes the idea of fragrance — and it's extremely cute".

People across Japan gushed as the press conference was beamed live across television screens.

Now that she had our attention, Ms Koike had one more thing to add — she had formed a new political party called "Party of Hope".

At first, the party was considered to be merely a slight disruption to Mr Abe's plans to gain a third term in office.

When the ABC asked Tobias Harris, a Japan analyst for Teneo Intelligence and Economy what impact she might have on the election, he said: "Her party looks increasingly capable of gaining at the LDP's [Mr Abe's party's] expense."

"With her [Governor Koike] more directly involved, it's a different party and a different campaign," he said.

But there are whispers Ms Koike may merge her new party with the Democratic Party — the main opposition party in Japan — and present herself as an alternative Prime Minister.

This would mean she would have to step aside from her role as the Governor of Tokyo and nominate for a seat in the lower house of parliament.

If the merger were to take place, this election, which was otherwise going to be about men in dark suits talking about North Korea, could become very interesting.

Governor Koike is making all the right noises for a party platform that might appeal to the disaffected.

"When you look at the world, bold reforms are taking place everywhere … Japan is lagging behind," she said.

"I believe Japan needs a real reform-minded force."

On Wednesday, Ms Koike said she would not resign as Tokyo Governor to run for a seat in the lower house.

But we all know that a few hours is a long time in politics, right?