Tokyo Governor Ishihara Resigns, Forms New Political Party
posted on by Egan Loo
80-year-old Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced in an abruptly scheduled press conference on Thursday that he is resigning his position. He is also forming a new political party soon and exploring a possible candidacy in the next national House of Representatives election. He submitted his resignation to the head of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly after the press conference, and a new election will be declared within the next 50 days.
Ishihara has served as the governor of Tokyo since 1999, and he was elected to his fourth term last year. Before he served as a legislator and then governor, Ishihara launched his writing career at the age of 23 with Season of the Sun (Taiyō no Kisetsu), a 1955 novel with mature themes. The novel inspired a 1956 live-action film, a 1986 animated special which Central Park Media released in North America, and a 2002 live-action television mini-series. He also contributed to the story of the Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection anime film.
Ishihara is a major advocate of Tokyo's amended Youth Healthy Development Ordinance; the amendment expanded the number of manga and anime that fall under "harmful publications," the legal category of works that must not be sold or rented to people under the age of 18. He has also served the head of the executive committee for the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF); Ishihara's stance on the ordinance amendment led to a boycott of the fair by 10 major publishers of manga.
Ishihara attempted to have the Tokyo Metropolitan Government purchase part of the Senkaku Islands in April. That led to the national government to purchase the islands outright in September, sparking international tension with China.
Ishihara has a history of saying controversial comments, including his complaint that "we've got homosexuals casually appearing even on television." Ishihara made that comment in 2010 during the debate over the amendment to the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance.
Ishihara then commented last year that the March 11 tsunami was "divine punishment" for Japan's "selfishness." Yutaka Yamamoto, the director of the Fractale and Kannagi anime, had responded by saying that no divine punishment would indiscriminately affect innocent people and that Ishihara was not qualified to characterize Japan. Ishihara later apologized for his comment.
Thanks to Dan Kanemitsu for the news tip.