The nationalistic governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara _ who stirred up the flap with China by saying the Tokyo government would buy and develop the disputed islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China – resigned recently to create the Sunrise Party.
Toru Hashimoto, the brash, young mayor of Osaka, is working to draw up candidates for the newly formed Japan Restoration Party, although he said he himself will not run in the elections. Recent polls show his party has support in the 5 percent range.
The two men are in discussions, seeking a possibility to merge their parties and form a so-called ``third force'' to counter the LDP and DPJ, but it appears they are having difficulty reconciling some of their differing policy views, including on nuclear power.
Japan is going through a messy period of political transition with its merry-go-round of prime ministers and the emergence of various parties to challenge the long-dominant LDP, experts say.
“The era of one-party dominance is clearly over and behind us,'' said the professor, Nakano. ``We know what we are transiting from, but we don't know where we are going.''