Hashimoto may resign as party co-head if Tokyo election outcome poor

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Wednesday he may resign as co-head of the Japan Restoration Party if results of the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election on Sunday turn out to be disappointing for his party.

"If we do not gain support, I will not be able to continue as co-head," Hashimoto told reporters, without elaborating on where his party sees the line between victory and defeat in the election.

Hashimoto mentioned possibly resigning as public support for the party has fallen since he made controversial remarks about Japan's wartime military brothels, which drew harsh criticism at home and abroad.

But he also indicated that he has no plans to resign as Osaka mayor.

In the upcoming election in Tokyo, seen as a prelude to the next month's House of Councillors election, 253 candidates are vying for 127 seats. The Japan Restoration Party is fielding 34 candidates, the Liberal Democratic Party 59 candidates, the Democratic Party of Japan 44, and the Japanese Communist Party 42, according to the election board.

Shintaro Ishihara, the co-head of the Japan Restoration Party, said in an interview Tuesday with Kyodo News that Hashimoto may have to resign depending on the outcome of the upper house election, and criticized Hashimoto's remarks on Japan's military brothels during World War II.

A survey by Kyodo News conducted in early June showed that support for the Japan Restoration Party stood at 4.2 percent, down 0.6 point from the previous survey in May.