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The Boston Globe

World

Tokyo governor quits post, would launch nationalist party

TOKYO — Shintaro Ishihara, the firebrand governor of Tokyo whose obsession with a set of disputed islands prompted Japan’s latest spat with China, declared Thursday that he was quitting local politics to start a national party, a move that could escalate the territorial dispute and shift allegiances in Japan’s soon-to-be-called elections.

Ishihara, an 80-year-old nationalist politician, who has said that Japan should develop nuclear weapons and abandon its pacifist constitution, has scarce hope of building a party big enough to form a government. But with polls suggesting no clear winner in elections that must be called by August, even a small upstart could use a swing position to punch above its weight and to wreak havoc with foreign policy.

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